Malaysia to up COVID-19 testing to over 22,000 daily by next week

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PUTRAJAYA, April 27 – Malaysia will increase its testing capacities for COVID-19 to over 22,000 tests per day by next week with two automated test processing machines.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the automated processing machine which could do 5,000 tests per day would be placed at Institute of Medical Research (IMR) in Kuala Lumpur by this weekend.

“Another machine which has the capacity to do 1,000 tests per day will be placed at Kota Kinabalu public health lab,” he told a COVID-19 daily press conference at the Health Ministry here today.

Dr Noor Hisham said these two machines would add additional 6,000 COVID-19 tests capacity to the present capacity of 16,500 tests per day, making the total to 22,000 tests per day.

“So far, our capacity is 16,635 COVID-19 tests and yesterday we did 10,858 COVID-19 tests,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia initially started with only 23 COVID-19 testing labs and now the country has 43 of such labs.

Meanwhile, he said shortage of blood occurred every Ramadan and he encouraged more blood donors to come forward.

“Every year without fail, when it comes to Ramadan, we do have shortage of blood. We encourage those who want to donate to go to the hospital,” he said adding that police have been informed not to take action against those who leave their house to donate blood.

However, he noted that the demand for blood is less during MCO as trauma cases due to accidents have decreased.

Earlier, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysians would be allowed to donate blood at hospitals and public health clinics from 10 am to 10 pm during MCO as reserves at the National Blood Bank had decreased by 33 per cent since the order was enforced.

Asked on the upcoming Parliament sitting on May 18, Dr Noor Hisham said that preventive measures should be taken in all places including Parliament building.

“It is the new normal, whether you go to the Parliament or restaurant or any institution, there will be temperature screening, practice social distancing, also maintain personal hygiene and obviously, no more hand shakes,” he said.

On April 17, Dewan Rakyat secretary Riduan Rahmat announced that Dewan Rakyat is set to sit only for a one-day session on May 18.

– BERNAMA

PHOTO CREDIT – freepik