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COVID-19

Backlog of swab to be sent overseas

May 19, 2021 3:00 am
Fiji Centre for Disease Control

The Ministry of Health has more than 11,000 swabs yet to be tested for COVID-19.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong, says the teams are tracing much faster than they are able to test all the swabs due to the recent closure of Fiji Centre for Disease Control in Tamavua, Suva.

Dr Fong says they are prioritizing the swab results from the highest risk individuals.

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“But until we know more, we have 11,000 reasons why we can’t roll back more restrictions. We simply have to run many, many more tests. I mentioned that we had run more than 2,500 tests since yesterday. I want to put our current testing capacity in perspective for everyone”.

The Ministry will be sending many of the swabs to a private laboratory in Australia tomorrow and results are expected back in the weekend.

Before the temporary shutdown of Fiji CDC over the weekend, the teams were testing at an average of 1,785 samples per day.

“Relative to our population, that puts our daily testing rate on par with the current rate of testing in Australia and New Zealand i.e. 1-3 per 1000 population per day. And we have plans to expand our testing further –– much further”.

The Ministry received 28 new Genexpert machines on Monday and these are being deployed nationwide to increase testing capacity to at least 3,000 per day.

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