Repeat test not necessary

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National Pandemic Response Controller and Police Comm David Manning has urged all citizens to follow the “niupela pasin” measures and comply with the national isolation strategy being imposed.

PNG Covid-19 National Pandemic Response Controller and Police Comm David Manning says people in isolation are not required to take the virus test to be discharged.
He said the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing was not a requirement for discharge from isolation and citizens must be made aware of these facts to avoid being misinformed, especially at this time when the country is battling to contain the surge in infections.
“Let me remind individuals, business houses, Government departments and the public that if a person or an employee of a company is tested positive and has completed the isolation period designated by their doctor or provincial health authority and is symptom free, a repeat test to determine if someone is negative before leaving isolation is not recommended by national or international guidelines,” he said.
“According to our medical team, PCR testing is very sensitive so people may test positive for more than three months after their initial test when they have completed the designated isolation period and are symptom free, but are no longer considered infectious.”
Comm Manning said doctors attending to a person would advise when one has recovered and could leave isolation.
Meanwhile, Comm Manning announced that swabbing and testing for the Covid-19 using antigen rapid diagnostic test (AgRDT) had been rolled out to the health facilities in the National Capital District and in the provinces.
He explained that the test was easy, convenient and fast and could be easily performed by any trained healthcare worker.
Comm Manning, however, said test results would need to be confirmed using PCR or GeneXpert, but an initial AgRDT result would be available within 20 minutes.
He said having the rapid test would help to take quick measures to quarantine suspected cases and further isolate if the result was positive.
“This will minimise community transmission and allow healthcare workers to make critical decisions.”
Comm Manning reminded citizens that the Covid-19 was another respiratory illness which can worsen pre-existing conditions.
“People with diabetes, hypertension or obesity and those who have Tuberculosis or other respiratory conditions may be at higher risk of severe illness or death if they are infected by the virus,” he said.
“Fear, stigma and discrimination prevent people from accessing the test and care, leading to more community transmissions and deaths.
“Whilst, the Government is adamant to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine to the rest of the country on a voluntary basis in the coming months, let us all be vigilant and continue to follow the ‘niupela pasin’ measures and strictly comply with the national isolation strategy being imposed. This is the only way we can prevent further spread of the Covid-19 and protect our family and loved ones from the Covid-19,” he added.