Covid-19: Potential for re-infection low – Dr Noor Hisham


PUTRAJAYA: The potential for fully recovered and discharged Covid-19 patients to be re-infected is very low, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said although the possibility of re-infection was low, patients would be given counselling before being allowed home and recommended to always practise social distancing, take care of personal hygiene as well as avoid from going to public places.

“They can be infected again, although they’ve tested negative twice in more than 24 hours.
“… sometimes there are not enough antibodies, (meaning) there is antibody, but insufficient if they are infected again, the antibody is not protective yet,” he told a daily news briefing on Covid-19 today.

So far, a total of 1,830 people, or 42.11 percent, of Covid-19 patients have fully recovered and discharged, and this is more than the number of new cases reported.

He said the ministry would always monitor the condition of patients declared free of the virus and carry out follow-up treatment to ensure that infection cases did not recur.
“The percentage of re-infection is probably not high, so we hope they take action to prevent from being infected,” he said.

Meanwhile Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was studying and identifying the effectiveness of several test kits in terms of getting fast and accurate test results.

“We are in the process of evaluating and verifying the antigen rapid test kit, so with our occasional assessments we hope to be able to identify a test kit that’s accurate and reliable.

“If we can carry out a test in half an hour or one hour, that would be the best. But so far we have not found an effective and highly accurate rapid test kit,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry would conduct clinical trials on the test kits from South Korea soon to ensure the effectiveness of the equipment.

“We do not want to repeat mistakes, for example Spain, and recently we were informed that the United Kingdom also bought rapid test kits which had low sensitivity, so their readings were not accurate,” he said. – Bernama