MoH to increase testing capacity to 22,000 per day next week

The testing will be shared between 44 existing institutions nationwide, says health DG


THE capacity of laboratories for testing will be increased to 22,000 per day as of next week as Malaysia recorded the lowest Covid-19 infection at 31 cases yesterday.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the testing will be shared between 44 existing institutions nationwide.

He added that currently in Guangdong, China, its testing capacity stands at 30,000 per day against a population of 110 million.

“Whereas for a smaller population of 32 million, we are currently reaching 16,635 tests per day.

“This means that we can reach a higher number of 22,000 by next week. As of April 27, we reached as many as 11,162 samples, which can be increased by 16%,” he said.

He added that the Ministry of Health (MoH) is looking into installing the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) which will allow an addition of 5,000 cases in a day.

“This implementation should be ready between the end of this week and next, so there will be an increase of capacity from the Institute for Medical Research by that amount.

“Similarly, there is a laboratory in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, with the addition of BGI but with a lesser capacity of 1,000 tests, so there will be an increase of 6,000 samples in our national testing capacity,” he said.

In addition, Dr Noor Hisham said a single-digit number of new cases is a possibility by the middle of next month.

“We can potentially reach a single-digit number of new cases by the middle of May,” he said. As of yesterday, 31 new cases were reported, adding up to the cumulative number of nationwide cases at 5,851, and currently active ones to 1,719. Out of the active ones, 36 patients were placed

in the Intensive Care Unit, while 17 of them require respiratory aid.

The number of casualties caused by the pandemic increased by one, totalling to 100 as of yesterday, which involved a Malaysian man aged 67 with a history involving diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Dr Noor Hisham said yesterday that the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) was ending and entering its fourth phase today.

“As of now, there is a downtrend and sometimes a flatline in the daily number of cases.

“With the increase in cases that have healed from Covid-19, this has led to the number of active cases to reduce throughout the third MCO phase, thus showing the success in our attempt to flatten the curve as the country enters the recovery stage,” he said.

Seventy-five new patients recovered and later discharged as of yesterday, leading up the number of recovered cases to 4,032 which also represents 68.9% of total cases in the nation.