Dr Sim: Health Ministry approves RM21 million to upgrade lab facilities in Sarawak hospitals to increase Covid-19 testing capacity


Dr Sim (right) and Sarawak Health Director Dr Chin Zin Hing (left) visiting a Covid-19 testing lab at the Sarawak General Hospital today.

KUCHING (Jan 23): The Health Ministry has approved an allocation of RM21 million to upgrade the facilities, equipment and reagents of the various labs in government hospitals in Sarawak for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in a bid to increase Covid-19  testing capacity in the state.

In revealing this, Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said that on top of that, the Health Ministry had also allocated an additional RM36 million for an additional 29 ICU beds and other medical equipment for the Sibu, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang hospitals.

“Even though health is under the federal list, it is Sarawakian lives at stake. The Sarawak Government has helped to urgently fund the government’s molecular lab with RM1 million each for Limbang and Kapit to enable PCR tests for Covid-19 at the local hospitals there,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Sim said prior to this, Sarawak’s testing capacity was at 2,500 per day, but with the approved allocations, Sarawak would be able to test up to 6,000 samples per day, further accelerating Sarawak’s effort to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve.

He pointed out that the state government also did its bit to help increase the testing capacity by providing funds for Unimas City Campus, Borneo Medical Centre (BMC) and Gribbles Pathology Malaysia.

“With all these arrangements (cooperation between public and private health institutions), Sarawak will be able to do more than 6,000 PCR tests for Covid-19 per day,” he said.