PCR testing is not a requirement to be discharged from Covid-19 isolation

Police Commissioner and Controller of the PNG Covid-19 National Pandemic Response David Manning says people in isolation are not required to take the prescribed Covid-19 test in order to be discharged.

Manning said Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing is not a requirement to be discharged 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 Covid-19 cases.

He  said: “Let me remind individuals, business houses, government departments and even the general 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.

“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 designated isolation period and are symptom free, but are no longer considered infectious.”

Manning said respective doctors attending to a person will advise when one has recovered and can leave isolation.

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Meanwhile, the Controller announced that swabbing and testing for Covid-19 using Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test (AgRDT) has been rolled out to the health facilities in NCD and in the provinces. He explained that the test is easy, convenient and fast and can be easily performed by any trained health care worker.

He however said test results will need to be confirmed using PCR or GeneXpert, but an initial AgRDT result will be available within 20 minutes. He said having the Rapid Test will help to take quick measures to quarantine suspected cases and further isolate if the result comes out positive. This he said will minimise community transmission and allow healthcare workers to make critical decisions at the point of care.

 Manning reminded citizens that Covid-19 is 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 acquire Covid-19. Fear, stigma and discrimination prevent people from accessing the test and care, leading to more community transmission and deaths. Let’s all care for our loved ones and help each other to go for a test if anyone in the family, work place or community has any symptoms of Covid-19,” he said.

“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.

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“This is the only way we can prevent further spread of Covid-19 and protect our family and loved ones from Covid-19.”

 


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