Malaysia’s lab capacity for Covid-19 tests to hit 30,000 per day soon, says Dr Noor Hisham

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there will be an increase of five more labs to boost the current turnover of 25,000 tests in case of a worst-case scenario. — Reuters pic
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there will be an increase of five more labs to boost the current turnover of 25,000 tests in case of a worst-case scenario. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Malaysia’s lab capacity for Covid-19 testing will reach 30,000 per day in a few weeks’ time.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there will be an increase of five more labs to boost the current turnover of 25,000 tests in case of a worst-case scenario.

He was addressing the possibility of a huge surge in cases following the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive season and also the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) warning that countries with declining cases are set to have a second peak of infections soon.

“Our labs have grown from 7,000 cases per day to 25,000 now, and perhaps in the next week or so, with five labs coming up, we can increase to 30,000 cases per day.

“We have 120 hospitals ready for health screenings, 40 hospitals identified for health facilities and seven hospitals for Covid-19 patients only where occupancy is less than 15 per cent,” said Dr Noor Hisham today during his daily Covid-19 briefing.

He also said the Health Ministry has more than 1,000 ventilators.

In the event of an exponential surge in cases, he added, 80 per cent of Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. These patients do not need to be hospitalised. However, the ministry has identified several places that can open within 24 hours in case of a surge.

“Our ICU (intensive care unit) expertise is getting better and we are continuing to improve. We have seen good management teams in hospitals.

“Those with mild symptoms need not be hospitalised. Wards and ICU are for those in stage three, four or five,” he said.

“However, we have gained a lot of experience in the last few months, which we can use to teach young doctors, making our preparedness much better than before.”

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