Health Ministry: Test kits from South Korea have arrived along with another 100,000 FDA-approved kits from China

R. Loheswar
A health worker in protective suit swabs a driver’s mouth at a drive-through testing site for Covid-19 at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital in Petaling Jaya March 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the new Covid-19 rapid test kits from South Korea have arrived and the Health Ministry is in the process of evaluating them.

He also said the ministry has received another 100,000 test kits from China, which are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The test kits from South Korea arrived late last night and our teams are evaluating them at Hospital Sungai Buloh. So far, we’ve not received any reports yet.

“Also, this afternoon we received another 100,000 kits from China, a different brand from the one we tested much earlier. So we will also try to test this new kit which is FDA-approved,” Dr Noor Hisham said during his daily Covid-19 briefing in Putrajaya.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry had decided not to buy a rapid test kit from China due to the reported low accuracy rate.

He said Malaysia wants to avoid the mistake made by Spain which had bought over 3,000 rapid test kits from China but is now not using them “due to the lower accuracy rate”.

However, today, he said he received assurances from Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia, Bai Tian, that the new test kits are more accurate.

“I was assured by the ambassador that this is more accurate than the one that we tested previously,” he said.

“So we’ll wait for perhaps another day or two for us to test these new kits. I’m not sure about the cost as we are testing the first batch.

“If the accuracy is good, we’ve already ordered another 200,000 from South Korea. I think it could be around US$5-6 (RM22-25) per test.

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