The importance of mass screening for Covid-19

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WHO had set the positivity rate of 10 per cent, which stipulated one positive case out of every 10 tests carried out

In the effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) stressed the importance for governments to perform more tests for COVID-19.

Mass screening test is important in helping the community quickly identify infected people as well as tracing and isolating their contacts and thus will prevent more waves of illness.

Among the countries that has perform mass screening is South Korea (population of 51 million), by screening people who had any contact with individuals as well as people with symptoms and setting up drive-through testing sites.

WHO had set the positivity rate of 10 per cent, which stipulated one positive case out of every 10 tests carried out.

In communities where more coronavirus tests are coming back positive, it is a sign there are many more cases that have not been found, whereas a low figure signifies sufficient testing in the communities.

For example, if 100 people are tested in the community and 80 are positive, that shows that many more positive cases in the community are not being detected.

However, if in 100 tests, only 10 cases (or 10 per cent) are positive, that is adequate in terms of screening and testing for the community.

According to health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (15th May), Malaysia is among the Southeast Asian countries that carry out the most Covid-19 tests, where the Ministry of Health (MoH) had conducted screenings on 424,306 people, of which 6,855 tested positive, translating into a 1.62% positive rate.

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