KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the government is looking to adopt two new rapid test kits for Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry has received samples from South Korea for local trials and was negotiating with a Penang company.

“We have received the rapid test kit from Korea, where it focuses on the antigen. If the accuracy level to locate the Covid-19 is good, then we will order 200,000 units,” he said in press conference this evening.

“We were also informed about a company in Penang that manufactured a test kit to detect Covid-19 within 30 minutes.

“However, the company has signed contract with the United States over the equipment. We are currently discussing how we can use this advanced equipment, which can detect the Covid-19 immediately,” he added.

So far, Dr Noor Hisham said that they have conducted 39,663 tests using the kits from the ministry, of which 2,627 were positive and another 8,457 still pending.

He also said Malaysia has 46 laboratories capable of doing the testing.

“The ministry has 18 laboratories, where 13 are in government hospitals, five belong to the health laboratories, one from the Institute for Medical Research (IMR). 

“Meanwhile, seven laboratories are from the private sector and the rest are from the universities,” he said.

The laboratories can conduct 11,750 tests per day, he said.

“We aim to raise the lab capability to conduct 16,500 tests per day. We raise the capacity by using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique,” he added.