New PCR lab at RMC translates into faster Covid-19 test results for Sibu — Dr Annuar

SIBU: The testing of Covid-19 samples at Rejang Medical Centre (RMC) can now be completed within two hours following the setting-up of the first on-site polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory for a private hospital here.

Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Annuar Rapa’ee said with this new and well-equipped facility, there should be no delays in getting back test results as the RMC would no longer have to send samples to the Borneo Medical Centre (BMC) in Kuching.

“Now we can do the testing at RMC here. The cost of this laboratory is about RM500,000 – RM200,000 for the building and RM300,000 for the equipment needed for the testing.

“I want to thank RMC and BMC because from the first day of the outbreak, they had been willing to receive samples from the Health Ministry.

“This is a good partnership between the government and private sector in helping to overcome the Covid-19 outbreak in Sibu,” he told reporters when launching the new laboratory at RMC here yesterday.

Dr Annuar, who is also Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee coordinator, said the Health Department Sarawak would continue to send Covid-19 samples to RMC for faster test results.

He said due to the huge number of samples that had been collected here since January,

Sibu Hospital had, at times, outsourced the testing to private hospitals and laboratories.

“From the ministry side, we can only do 1,000 tests per day if we want to, but we cannot at the moment because if we were to do it non-stop, we’d need manpower,” he said, adding that a total of 88,148 tests had been done since the Covid-19 outbreak started in Sibu in January.

Meanwhile, RMC managing director Dr John Tang said the centre decided to set up the PCR lab following discussions with Dr Annuar and Senator Robert Lau, who highlighted the delay in getting back Covid-19 test results.

“Whatever money that we put in we might not able to recoup, but as a medical facility and healthcare provider, it is our responsibility to do it. Whether we can make money or not, that’s another issue.

“Hopefully, we could help the people of Sibu,” said Dr Tang.

Sibu Health officer Dr Teh Jo Hun was also present yesterday.

--Source: Borneo Post

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