KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said his ministry is targeting to increase the capacity of labs nationwide that are running reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to 100,000 tests per day.
During a press conference today, Dr Noor Hisham said the nationwide capacity for such tests — which is reportedly the most accurate method to diagnose Covid-19 — is currently about 70,000 tests per day.
He added that if the goal to reach 100,000 tests per day is achieved, the ministry will then aim for 150,000 tests per day.
“In Sabah (and Sarawak) we have six labs, and in West Malaysia, we have 68 labs in total. We will increase the processing capacity of those laboratories to 100,000 tests soon.
“We will also be adding labs in hospitals such as has been done in Lahad Datu and Tawau,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham added that more personnel must be trained in order to reach the targeted increase in testing capacity.
For RT-PCR testing, Malaysia incorporates a combination of labs under the Health Ministry (MoH), Malaysian Armed Forces, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, public and private higher education institutions, as well as the private sector.
Although other methods of testing are available — such as the Antigen rapid test kits — RT-PCR testing remains the method used in places such as hospitals to conclusively diagnose Covid-19, due to its higher accuracy.
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