Random PCR and antigen testing slashed

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

Health officials have drastically reduced the number of random PCR tests and antigen tests conducted in Colombo.

Chief Medical Officer of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Dr. Ruwan Wijeyamuni told Colombo Gazette the move was implemented due to two key factors.

He said the first key reason was due to the general public showing high resistance to PCR tests.

People are not showing up for PCR tests due to fears over the consequences of quarantine, if they test positive.

Dr. Wijeyamuni said the second factor was the usage of the same group of healthcare workers.

Public Health Inspectors and Medical Officers of Health are constantly engaged in PCR sample collection, tests, contact tracing, and quarantine process.

He said therefore, the reduction of random PCR tests and rapid antigen tests is inevitable.

The Chief Medical Officer of the CMC however, said they have not slashed PCR tests on first level contacts or high-risk groups.

He said random PCR tests and rapid antigen tests are continuing in this regard.

Dr. Wijeyamuni explained that testing done for control and containment of the coronavirus, such as random PCR tests and rapid antigen tests, and establishment of testing centres, has been drastically reduced.

He further said that there is no necessity to conduct testing at the same level of intensity if the infection has reduced in the said area.

Dr. Ruwam Wijeyamuni pointed out that health authorities are also vying to operate cost-effectively.

Stating that a PCR test costs Rs. 8000, he said a COVID-19 vaccine only costs Rs. 2000, which means nearly 4 people can be vaccinated for the cost of one PCR test.

He said health authorities are considering reducing random PCR tests and rapid antigen tests and to focus more on vaccinating the public. (Colombo Gazette)

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