Government lab preparing to increase COVID-19 testing to meet demands of travellers


Cabinet Notes: The Cabinet invited the Chief Medical Officer, the Chairman of the National Technical Commission responsible for crafting Covid-19 policy, and the Head of the Government’s Laboratory to appear before the body in order to provide guidance on the policies which are to govern, now that the USA and the UK (and most likely Canada, also) now require all those passengers entering their territories to provide a Covid-19 Negative certificate.


The UK requirement will commence on January 21, and the US requirement on January 26, 2021.


The need for more testing and a rapid turnaround, given the 72-hour limitation imposed on the validity of the test for re-entry, the MSJMC would have to increase the speed with which test results are returned, and address the larger number of tests that would have to be undertaken at its laboratory.


Following intense discussions, the team identified a total of 3 additional PCR machines that could now be placed at the MSJMC, bringing the number of machines to 5; and, the number of persons who could quickly be trained to carry out the testing.


It was agreed that though the USA would require a viral test, and the UK would require a Sophia test, the gold standard of all tests is still the PCR test, and the capabilities at MSJMC could be adjusted to meet the expected increased demand.

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