10 extra labs roped in for Covid-19 testing

A healthcare worker in full protective gear carrying out tests to detect Covid-19 infections at a drive-through centre.

PUTRAJAYA: Ten more laboratories have joined the government’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the director-general of heath, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said.

He said a mobile laboratory, which can be stationed in hotspot areas, was among 10 additional diagnostic laboratories made available by the higher education ministry and the ministry for science and technology.

The laboratories are those in universities and teaching hospitals.

“All 10 of the additional diagnostic laboratories are capable of conducting 42,420 tests a month or 1,414 a day,” he said in his daily press briefing.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Institute for Medical Research had been the only laboratory in Malaysia directly involved in Covid-19 testing in the early stages. Later 25 laboratories throughout the country, including seven private laboratories, were involved.

On other matters, Noor Hisham said:

  • More health volunteers should join the Covid-19 health and medical assistance team. A registration form is available on the ministry’s Facebook page. To date, 157 volunteers have been mobilised and 1,008 more will join medical teams in hospitals.
  • People at risk of Covid-19 infections, and their family members, should take extra precautions to avoid getting infected, and ensure they had sufficient medical supplies.
  • Of the 34 recorded deaths so far, 55.6% were aged 60 years and older, while 67.6% had suffered from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney diseases and heart problems.
  • Counselling services are available through the virtual health advisory service from 8.30pm to 5pm every day. The public can also follow the ministry’s Facebook live sessions from 10am-10.30am and the Facebook live DoctorOnCall from 3pm-3.30pm on weekdays.