COVID-19: Singapore 'very confident' about test kits used to assess cases, says MOH

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak speaking at the multi-ministry taskforce on the Wuhan coronavirus press conference on 4 February 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The test kits used by Singapore to diagnose the novel coronavirus are validated by a World Health Organisation-accredited benchmark laboratory, as well as with actual patients infected with COVID-19.

In this regard, health authorities have little doubt about the accuracy of these test kits. “They are very confident that they will not be missing any patient with infection that would give them a positive test,” said Kenneth Mak, the Ministry of Health’s director of medical services.

Addressing reporters during a multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 conference on Friday (14 February), Professor Mak was responding to a question on the accuracy of test kits used in the Republic.

In China, the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities surged after authorities there changed their previous method of testing. Previous test kits used in China were reportedly only 30-50 per cent accurate.

Prof Mak noted that test kits used in Singapore hospitals require validation before use. The validation is done by the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), which is one of the WHO-accredited benchmark laboratories for the purposes of accrediting and testing accuracy for test kits.

“So we're quite confident that the test kits used in Singapore are accurate and we'll be able to reliably diagnose any COVID in any patient,” he said.

On Friday, MOH confirmed nine new cases of the novel coronavirus in Singapore – the highest in a single day here to date – bringing the total number of cases here to 67.

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