The Health Ministry was taking steps to increase the number of PCR laboratories and the capacity of the existing laboratories with an aim to increase the number of PCR tests conducted within a day to 20,000, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said.
Addressing media, he said with the introduction of Rapid Antigen Tests, the Ministry has been able to expand the PCR tests conducted randomly and in high risk groups to identify more patients.
“PCR tests will not be reduced after the introduction of Rapid Antigen Test. We can save more PCR tests after this Rapid Antigen Test was introduced. We will use these extra PCR tests to conduct more random PCR tests and to identify patients in high risk groups. Our daily PCR capacity is 7,500 - 10,000. Our aim is to increase it to 20,000 in a short period of time,” he said.
Dr. Samaraweera said they have noticed that identification of patients has been fast after the Rapid Antigen Test was introduced and added that this would reduce the spread of the disease and thereby control its spread than before.
He said patients reported from the Minuwangoda cluster have been very low and that they have noticed a gradual reduction in the CT value or the viral load of the patients because the number of active patients in the cluster has reduced.
“This is not a reduction in the efficiency of the virus. It is a reduction in the efficiency of spreading the disease,” he said.(Ajith Siriwardana)