MoH to use S. Korean rapid test kit for mass screening

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE Health Ministry (MoH) aims to use the antigen rapid test kit from South Korea for mass screening at targeted locations with higher numbers of clusters and high-risk populations.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry has evaluated the test kit and found that it has an 84% sensitivity and 100% specificity.

“We will embark on the use of the antigen rapid test kit which can be done at point of care, which means that the samples will not have to be sent to the laboratory.

“However, the pre-existing polymerase chain reaction test will be used to complement in case of doubts,” he said at his daily Covid-19 briefing yesterday.

He said given that there will be further procurement of the test kit, it will be used from next week on targeted groups for mass screening.

“We are indeed doing mass screening, but we are focusing on targeted groups based on location and population, for example, perhaps the state, or district, so we’ll have to look into the population first and then we’ll screen the group,” he said.

Targeted locations and high-risk groups mean locations with high populations of the elderly.

Currently, populations or locations with high infection rate or active clusters include Bandar Baru Ibrahim Majid with 11 new positive cases; Kampung Sungai Lui with one new positive case; and non-Kampung Sungai Lui with three new cases; followed by one new case at Selangor Mansion.

Active clusters include patients under investigation with travel history to Italy with 37 active cases; the ecumenical council in Sarawak with 106 cases; Sungai Lui madrasah with 60 cases; Kampung Baru flat with 29 active cases; as well as 65 from the Sendayan cluster.

Dr Noor Hisham added that currently, the ministry is working with non-governmental organisations to do screening and address potential cases in old folks’ homes and among foreign workers.

“We are currently working with Mercy Malaysia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to collaborate and provide services to foreign workers.

“We suspect that not many of them are coming forward with their health conditions, but we are not seeing any cluster formation among them, namely the ones in Pasar Borong Kuala Lumpur, for example. However, the screening and monitoring is a continuous process,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the government is adopting a focused approach, like enhancing the Movement Control Order in areas reporting new cases and high-risk groups.

As of yesterday, 119 cases have recovered, adding up to 2,766 fully treated. However, 110 new positive cases were reported as of noon yesterday, totalling up to 5,182 cases in Malaysia. There are 2,332 current active cases currently undergoing isolation and receiving treatment. Out of the total, 56 cases are in the intensive care unit, with 29 receiving respiratory aid.

One casualty was reported yesterday, involving a 66-year-old man with a history of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Across the statistics, two age groups are reporting the highest number of positive cases, namely the 20-year-old to 24-year-old group and the 56-year-old to 59-year-old group.

However, if the number of cases is compared to the population of each age group, the highest number of Covid-19 incidents would still be among those in the 55-year-old to 59-year-old and 60-year-old to 64-year-old age brackets.

Similarly, the figures for deaths have been reported to be 62.6% from ages 60 and above, whereas 80.7% were reported as having histories of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease.