Self-test positive results will be recognised: govt

Health officials on Friday said people who test positive for Covid-19 with rapid test kits will no longer need to submit a deep throat saliva sample for confirmation.

That’s part of a major change in the government’s testing strategy as officials struggle to keep up with a sharp rise in infections in recent weeks.

In a statement, the government said although it has ramped up its testing capacity to an average of 200,000 tests a day, it’s still been unable to cope with the rapid rise in demand.

To address the problem, officials said they will do away with the requirement of a confirmation PCR test to “avoid duplication of resources and delay”, and people will soon be able to register their self-test positive result online.

Authorities said the new arrangement – details of which will be announced later – will allow them to offer more timely support for patients.

The government also announced that preliminary positive cases from private laboratories will be treated as confirmed cases from now on, so that public laboratories won’t need to double check the results.

Instead of issuing compulsory testing notices, rapid antigen test kits will also be distributed to places with a high infection risk, such as buildings with multiple cases and restaurants.

However, officials stressed buildings with even higher risks will still be locked down for testing.