PUTRAJAYA, March 24 — Malaysian lab tests capacity for Covid-19 will gradually increase up to 16,500 tests per day by the month’s end, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.
Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that the current test capacity stood at about 7,000 daily, compared to 3,500 during the early stages of the outbreak.
“Once we have these capacities to test, we can test more people. With the movement control order in place, we will continue to look into target groups for example certain high risk groups.
“If we can pick them up early that would be better, then we will isolate and treat them. That is our plan,” he told a press conference at the ministry here.
Citing South Korea’s rigorous screening of about 20,000 daily, Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia was not too far from the figure in a week or two.
“Hopefully we will be able to detect more [patients] and we can take out the infected patients out from society [then] we may flatten the curve,” he said.
However, Dr Noor Hisham said he hoped Malaysia does not reach a stage where an exponential surge of infected cases is detected which then subsequently overload the existing healthcare capacity and eventually force hospitals to triage patients.
“If there is a surge and capacity is limited, then we will have to choose which patient will have privilege of ventilation.
“So we hope we do not come to that stage where we have to decide which patients gets ventilation,” he said, adding that 27 out of 64 patients currently warded in the Intensive Care Unit required breathing assistance.
Malaysia today reported 106 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative figure to 1,624.
The total fatalities related to Covid-19 in Malaysia also stood at 15, with one death reported today.