Fiji's COVID-19 testing can be trusted: Dr Waqainabete

July 2, 2020 7:42 am

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete [middle] with the COVID IMT team in Korovou hospital [Source: Twitter]

Fiji’s COVID-19 testing can be trusted as it is done according to the World Health Organisation recommendation says Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

Dr Waqainabete is responding to reports that claim Fiji’s testing is vague and that testing data does not reflect the actual COVID-19 testing results but that of temperature testing.

He says when health authorities say COVID-19 testing in Fiji, it means they actually doing testing based on the WHO recommended testing.

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There are two WHO recommended COVID-19 emergency tests which are being used worldwide.

These are the molecular diagnostic testing and the serological testing.

The molecular diagnostic testing (RT-PCR) helps to identify those individuals who are infected at the time of the test.

The serologic testing detects people who have had a prior infection and thus developed antibodies.

Dr Waqainabete says the initial 19 COVID-19 samples in the country were sent to Melbourne for testing and the rest of the over 4,000 tests that followed were then done at the Fiji Center for Disease Control in Tamavua.

He adds, many countries do not have the mechanisms of testing that Fiji has.

The Health Minister also stresses that apart from testing, they also undertake thermal screening which all countries do at the airports and there is yet to be a country that conducts COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport.

Dr Waqainabete says another layer of the preventative measures they have taken include contact tracing through the use of an app.

He reiterates, Fiji’s testing mechanism can be trusted and it is the same used in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Waqainabete adds, all the data on the COVID-19 tests are available for public viewing on the Ministry of Health website.