Only two institutions licensed to conduct PCR tests

– Minister Anthony

The Ministry of Health has said the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is the gold standard for detecting COVID-19.

There are two institutions licensed to offer the active PCR test locally; the National Public Health Reference Laboratory and the Eureka Medical Laboratory.

The Ministry is urging the public to visit only licensed facilities.

Minister, Hon. Dr Frank Anthony has said there are several criteria which must be met before an institution can be authorised to perform the test.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony

“There are various stages of setting up this service. What is required is that the Ministry would have to send in a team to the facility to check exactly what you have, whether you have the PCR machine, if it’s working properly and whether you have the biohazard cabinets so that you can do the extraction of samples,” he explained, adding that these are all specific laboratory processes which must be observed.

Another important component is ensuring that there are trained personnel to conduct the tests.

“Again, this is a very specialised process, and therefore, you have to get the staff who understand how to do PCR testing,” the Health Minister said.

The Ministry has trained 30 people in this regard. It is also willing to work with any facility which has invested in equipment and is interested in offering this service.

“You can have people who are a little bit over-exuberant, and they are advertising falsely. So, people have to be aware of that.”   Currently, the National Public Health Reference Laboratory can conduct 450 to 600 tests per day. Minister Anthony is hopeful that this increases to 1,200 by the end of the month.

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COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.