Negative result from antigen test not a guarantee

By Easwaran Rutnam

Health authorities have warned that a negative result following a rapid antigen test does not ensure the individual is not infected.

Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath told reporters yesterday (Friday) that the rapid antigen test is being conducted to obtain a quick result.

However, he said that even if someone tests negative following a rapid antigen test it does not mean the person is in the all clear.

“Doing a rapid antigen test cannot give a 100 percent guarantee that you are not infected. The idea is to see what your health condition is at that moment. Someone testing negative now can test positive in a few days,” he said.

Dr. Hemantha Herath said that testing alone does not clear an individual but if someone tests positive then at least others can be protected by isolating the infected person.

“That is why we are doing random testing. So those travelling out of town do not take the virus with them outside,” he said.

Random rapid-antigen testing is being carried out on people leaving the Western Province from yesterday (Friday).

He said that the rapid antigen test is being done to obtain a result within 20 minutes but if there is some doubt in the result then a sample will be obtained for a PCR test.

Dr. Hemantha Herath also said that the public have been urged to limit travelling out of the Western Province during the festive season.

He said that the public living in high-risk areas have been requested to travel out of town only if required.

“Our request is that you try and stay at your current location,” Dr. Hemantha Herath said.

He said that while the spread of the virus has been contained to a certain extent in the Gampaha and Colombo Districts, there have been small number of infected people detected in other parts of the country.

Dr. Hemantha Herath said that the virus had spread to other parts of the country as a result of people from Colombo and Gampaha travelling to those areas or people from those areas visiting Colombo and Gampaha and returning home. (Courtesy Daily Mirror)

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