by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
TWO batches of antigen rapid test kits from South Korea that were delayed will be arriving tomorrow and on Saturday.
Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the usage of the test kits will be prioritised for Sabah and Sarawak due to logistic difficulties faced by the states.
“Because of the antigen rapid test kits’ nature that allows tests to be done at point of care for patients under investigations (PUIs), as well as how difficult it is to carry specimens in general for the two states, it would be more appropriate to prioritise them with these new batches of test kits.
“The first batch is made up of 50,000 test kits (which will arrive tomorrow), while the second batch will be arriving on Saturday,” he said at the Covid-19 press briefing yesterday.
Similarly, the automated machines from Beijing Genomics Institute will begin running and testing starting next week at the Institute of Medical Research.
“Meanwhile, the lab in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, will begin operation the following week.
“We will also be placing two bio-cabinets for immediate testing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport,” he said.
A week ago, it was reported that three large Covid-19 clusters in Sarawak were identified involving PUIs who returned from Italy, a church gathering and healthcare frontliners.
The ministry is still studying the best course of action to break the chain of infections in the country and continue to increase close contact testing as there may be unidentified individuals who have come in close contact with patients from the three clusters.
Sarawak recorded around five new positive cases yesterday, which added to its total of 502 cumulative cases out of the nation’s 5,945 cases (at press time).
The state also recorded fifth most positive cases nationwide, after Negri Sembilan, Johor, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
As of yesterday, the number of new cases has risen to 94. Some 72 of the cases comprised of arrivals from Indonesia, while 22 are the locally infected cases, adding to the number of currently active cases in Malaysia to 1,758 (at press time).
No death was recorded in the span of 24 hours, while a total of 55 patients have recovered and discharged from their respective hospitals.
In addition, the ministry has collected as many as 34,113 samples from surveillance activities of patients with influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).
Dr Noor Hisham said out of the total, as many as 6,100 are clinical. Meanwhile, another 71 are confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“Around eight cases from ILI samples were positive out of 1,322, while around 63 cases were positive out of 4,778 SARI samples.
“Among SARI cases, there has been a downtrend in the Covid-19 positive cases which was evident between the 17th epidemiology week on April 25, whereby only three samples were positive out of 2,168 SARI samples versus the 12th epidemiology week on March 28, where 33 samples were positive out of 263 SARI samples,” he said.