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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Malaysia to get quicker access to COVID-19 test results

Comprising Gribbles Pathology, Quantum Diagnostics, and Clinipath Malaysia, the private laboratory consortium is set to roll out a COVID-19 collection and testing programme that aims to conduct more than 5,000 tests a day, with a 24-hour turnaround.

A private laboratory consortium in Malaysia is rolling out a nationwide COVID-19 collection and testing programme that aims to conduct more than 5,000 tests a day, with a 24-hour turnaround time. Touted to be the country's largest such collection and testing scheme, it is set to begin as a drive-through service in Klang. 

The programme will be rolled out in phases and the three laboratories hopes to bump up their testing capacity to the targeted 5,000 tests a day to give patients access to quicker testing at an "affordable price", said the consortium in a statement Wednesday. The network comprises three laboratories: Gribbles Pathology (Malaysia), Quantum Diagnostics, and Clinipath Malaysia.

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It added that existing facilities would be converted into drive-through collection facilities as well as walk-in centres, with physical barriers to installed between the collector and patients. 

The first drive-through service will commence its operations tomorrow at Clinipath's headquarters in Klang, but patients will be required to make an appointment before visiting the facility. 

To access the new service, patients will have to pre-register and book an appointment online, as well as select the collection location and time. The consortium said this would ensure adherence to social distancing rules.

It said: "While Malaysia has introduced measures to curb the spread of the disease and a number of hospitals have begun offering drive-through services, the challenge of poor access to COVID-19 testing still remains across the country. Malaysia is testing at a current rate of 1,255 tests per million people, compared to 6,800 tests per million people in Singapore and 6,500 tests per million people in South Korea."

Citing the World Health Organization, the Malaysian lab network said testing and contact tracing were two critical components in efforts to flatten the curve and stem the spread of the coronavirus. It said its new programme would introduce safer and wider access to the collection and testing of COVID-19, with faster turnaround times, and improve Malaysia's ability to manage the spread of the virus.

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