Test kit shortage hampers Sabah’s anti-virus efforts

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (centre) after receiving a donation of medical equipment from China. With him are his deputy, Christina Liew and the Chinese Consul-General in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide.

KOTA KINABALU: A shortage of test kits to detect Covid-19 infections is hampering the state’s efforts to contain the pandemic, with almost 200 cases reported so far.

Covid-19 reagents are reported to be in short supply in Sabah, resulting in health authorities not being able to track down new positive cases.

No new cases were reported on March 26, a day after Sabah received an unspecified number of test kits donated by a foundation. However, the number of new cases jumped by 15 between Friday and Saturday.

No new cases were reported today.

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said the state government would do its best to acquire more reagents once supply is available.

He said the state is working closely with health authorities to source for Covid-19 test kits. “We are doing our best to get the supply of reagents,” he said.

On Wednesday, a local charity, the Osimal Foundation, handed over a limited supply of Covid-19 reagents to the Sabah Health Department after the Kota Kinabalu health laboratory had reported that it was no longer able to carry out testing.

The foundation said it was trying to secure more reagents from suppliers overseas.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Sabah remains at 170 cases.

The state government has also ordered that repairs be carried out at several designated quarantine centres because of their dilapidated conditions.

Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi said complaints were received about the state Fire and Rescue Department academy, Health Ministry Training Institute and Kota Kinabalu Politeknik.

Sabah receives medical equipment donated by China

China’s consul-general in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide (third from left), and Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal (fourth from left) after the state received a donation of medical equipment from China.

A consignment of personal protection equipment donated by China was received by the state government today. The donation comprised more than 170,000 face masks, as well as protective suits, goggles, thermometers and other equipment from Guangzhou.

China’s consul-general in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide, said more equipment such as sanitisers and sterilised swabs would arrive later.

He expressed China’s appreciation of a RM2 million donation raised at a fund-raiser organised by the state government for Covid-19 victims in Wuhan, China.