Sarawak getting 40,000 test kits, two PCR machines

Dr Sim speaks at the Covid-19 update press conference, as Sarawak Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing looks on.

KUCHING: Sarawak will be getting additional 40,000 reagent test kits and two Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test machines for Covid-19 from the federal government, said Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He said the reagent test kits and the machines would be arriving via the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) flight today.

“Yesterday (April 26) we raised the question to Health Minister Datuk Seri Adham Baba on getting more reagents for testing for Covid-19 in Sarawak.

“He assured us that tomorrow (April 28) they are sending more reagent test kits enough for 40,000 tests coming via TUDM flight, also with the two PCR test machines, because Sarawak is so big,” Dr Sim said at a press conference yesterday.

He said at the moment the PCR machines are only available in Kuching, Sibu and Miri, so with the new machines and additional reagent test kits, other major districts with active cases such as Bintulu as well as places conducting Active Contact Detection (ACD) operations would have these equipment.

“A lot of people misunderstand that if we can do 2,000 test a day we can do so, but no, because it depends on the recommendation of the Health Department, as they will test when appropriate.

“So we will continue to build our capacity in case we need to test beyond 2,000 a day,” said Dr Sim.

He also note that at the moment the only shortage of personal protection equipment supply was for the N95 face masks for the medical staff and front liners.

This was based on the briefing by the Health Department during the visit by Dr Adham on Sunday, said Dr Sim.

“As of yesterday (April 26) the Health Department of Sarawak said only the N95 PPE are short. The minister explained to us that the shortage is worldwide as well, not just in Sarawak.

“The department also briefed us that Sarawak has at least 29 days worth of N95 supplies, and are looking at other alternatives to address the shortage,” said Dr Sim.

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