Bahrain to launch rapid test kits in COVID-19 fight

The kits will be made available to the public once the pilot phase of rapid tests on the targeted 20,000 individuals is completed

  
A medical staff takes a nose swab from an American national at a medical checkpoint on the King Fahd Causeway that reopened after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased, at the Bahrain-Saudi border, Bahrain, September 15, 2020.

A medical staff takes a nose swab from an American national at a medical checkpoint on the King Fahd Causeway that reopened after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased, at the Bahrain-Saudi border, Bahrain, September 15, 2020.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain - People could soon be able to check themselves for Covid-19 as plans are under way to supply rapid test kits to hospitals and pharmacies across the country.

The kits will be made available to the public once the pilot phase of rapid tests on the targeted 20,000 individuals is completed. This was revealed by Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea during an online Press conference at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at the BDF Hospital yesterday.

Present were National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus monitoring committee head Lieutenant Colonel Dr Manaf Al Qahtani and taskforce member and Salmaniya Medical Complex Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases Dr Jameela Al Salman.

The GDN reported last Thursday that the ministry had launched the rapid tests on a trial basis with the pilot phase focusing on teachers, students, medical teams on the front line and symptomatic patients.

“The number of examinations has reached 7,916 to date,” said Dr Al Manea, adding that the rapid tests would give the results in 15 minutes.

However, he said the test was not a substitute for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test if the self-examination result turned positive.

The rapid test detects infections through a nasal swab with an accurate diagnosis of the patient’s condition within 15 minutes without the need for a specialised laboratory.

The new service is part of initiatives spearheaded by the taskforce to facilitate tests and keep abreast of international developments.

More than 2,700 patients, out of 4,200 who are set to undergo tests at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sanabis, will undergo rapid tests, in addition to 800 health and medical frontliners.

Dr Al Manea also noted that only 10.8 per cent of the 7,080 beds in isolation and treatment facilities (764) were occupied, while there are 2,375 in self-isolation.

The recovery rate in the country stands at 95.69pc and the death rate is 0.39pc of the total number of cases.

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