Speaking to The Times of Malta, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne has confirmed that Malta has received the first shipment of the COVID-19 Rapid-Testing Kits which yield results in a maximum of 30 minutes, adding that an announcement will be made as to how these tests will be used alongside the current procedures.
As things stand, a COVID-19 Swab Test gives a result in hours, with people finding out that they are either positive or negative, sometimes a day after their test.
The World Health Organisation has said, earlier this week that these tests, will enable expansion of testing adding that they are highly portable, reliable, and easy to administer, making testing possible in near-person, decentralized healthcare settings.
“Rapid tests to detect the presence of the virus at the point of care, which are faster and cheaper, are a vital addition to the testing arsenal needed to contain and fight COVID-19,” WHO said, adding that its guidance published on 11 September 2020 highlights the value of these tests in areas where community transmission is widespread and where nucleic acid amplification-based diagnostic (NAAT) testing is either unavailable or where test results are significantly delayed.
As well as supporting test-trace-isolate strategies, WHO said that the tests can help identify or confirm new outbreaks, support outbreak investigations through screening; monitor disease trends; and potentially test asymptomatic contacts.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said: “High-quality rapid tests show us where the virus is hiding, which is key to quickly tracing and isolating contacts and breaking the chains of transmission. The tests are a critical tool for governments as they look to reopen economies and ultimately save both lives and livelihoods.”