KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — The Health Ministry has reiterated that those who test positive for COVID-19 and have completed quarantine need not undergo further COVID-19 testing.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said ultra-sensitive test methods such as Real-Time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) will still be able to detect the presence of viral genetic material in respiratory tract samples up to two to three months after infection.
“During the viral shedding period, for example. However, the virus is no longer able to reproduce and the individual is unlikely to be able to spread the infection,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Noor Hisham also said that the COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Ag), both the self-test and professional types, can detect infection from the third to the seventh day of exposure to those already infected with COVID-19.
He said RT-PCR tests can also detect infection as early as the second to 14th day after infection, and as such, the accuracy of both types of tests depends on the duration of infection at the time the sample was taken.
“The use of RTK-Ag is recommended to individuals who are symptomatic or are in a high-risk group and asymptomatic.”
“RTK-Ag helps facilitate the detection process and control of COVID-19 infection because the method is simple, easy, inexpensive, and can be done at point-of-care. The testing process is quick and test results can be obtained in about 20 to 30 minutes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said patients who test positive through RTK-Ag self-testing will need to report their results through MySejahtera, update their health status via the Home Assessment Tool and undergo isolation as required by the MOH.
As for professional RT-PCR and RTK-Ag tests, laboratories or medical practitioners who carry out the tests must immediately report the results to the MOH through the Public Health Laboratory Information System (SIMKA), he said.
“The MOH recommends that all self or professional RTK Ag tests or RT-PCR conducted should be reported to the MOH via MySejahtera or SIMKA, regardless of whether the results are positive or negative, to help the MOH get a clearer picture of the infection rate in the community,” he said.