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COVID-19: Ministry urges against conducting antibody tests

Mariyam Malsa
30 July 2020, MVT 11:07
Samples being extracted from patients showing symptoms or determined to be at high risk, to test for the COVID-19 virus. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
30 July 2020, MVT 11:07

The Ministry of Health, on Wednesday, urged against conducting antibody tests for COVID-19.

In a circular issued over the matter, the ministry stated that antibody tests were not included under the measures listed in the current surveillance and response strategy.

The health ministry revealed that a number of companies and private entities were offering antibody tests and implementing measures based on the results.

According to the health ministry, such tests conducted outside of established COVID-19 protocols were likely to confuse test subjects in addition to interfering with ongoing contact tracing and isolation efforts to control the spread of the virus.

"However, in circumstances that necessitate an antibody test, permission can only be given under a guideline established by the Health Protection Agency. If such a test is being conducted for research purposes, it must be carried out after informing the National Research Council of the Ministry of Health", read the statement.

Excluding tests that need to be conducted at PCR testing laboratories prior to travelling abroad, the health ministry called on the public to adhere to testing practices required under the national surveillance and response strategy.

Furthermore, the ministry highlighted that PCR tests were conducted by trained professionals in accordance with quality standards at registered laboratories and hospitals.

At present, Maldives records a total of 3,567 positive COVID-19 cases out of which 983 are active. Till date, the country recorded 2,554 recoveries and 15 deaths.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first weeks following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.

Despite recording low numbers for several weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases increased after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region.

The recent spike of virus cases has reduced the total amount of recovered patients from the peak 86 to 71 percent.

On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 17.1 million people and claimed over 670,200 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 10.6 million people have recovered.

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