Focus on Delta variant


TESTING for Covid-19 in the National Capital District (NCD) has been scaled down but, with the widespread transmission of the Delta variant in neighbouring countries, testing needs to be scaled up, a doctor says.
NCD health authority acting chief executive officer Dr Maru Garo said testing was the only means to know whether the Delta variant was in the country or not and to what extent.
Dr Garo said it was crucial testing was ongoing to be able to pick up the variant as it came in.
“We have scaled down on testing because our focus is on vaccination,” he said.
“The news of the variant in our region, and right across the border in Indonesia, has led to discussions on how we should start the Covid-19 response for the next six months.
“We have to be prepared for when it comes. The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than the original Covid-19.
“Testing is the only means of knowing if we have the variant and USAID has supplied the cartridges for GeneXpert machines and that’s the main tool that we use which is quiet reliable.
“The experience we have during the last wave was we ran short of these cartridges and we were forced to use the rapid diagnostic kits and there are some issues which raised questions on the management of cases.
“We are comfortable with GeneXpert cartridges. We encourage people with signs and symptoms of Covid-19 to go for testing.”
Dr Garo said some clinics were not doing triage but the authority would direct all clinics of the need to do pre-triaging.