Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) laboratory has significantly increased the number of Covid-19 tests it is able to do each day as well as reduced the time it takes to process test results. This was announced by the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology chair Dr Einas al-Kuwari at a press conference organised on Thursday by the Ministry of Public Health.

"There are two kinds of Covid-19 tests; PCR molecular test and serological test. PCR molecular test is the gold standard test using a swab of the back of the mouth and the top of the nose to determine if someone is Covid-19 positive. "The serological test uses a finger prick to deliver rapid results and confirms if someone has been exposed to Covid-19 previously, but does not determine if they are Covid-19 positive.

"HMC's testing strategy has three elements overall. The first, health care related testing is provided for people who come to a health care setting and display Covid-19 symptoms. The second, public health testing involves contact tracing and random sampling. Under contact tracing anyone who has had contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive is tested. Random sampling involves choosing a sample population area and randomly testing people, providing a better understanding of how widespread the virus is. "The third element is testing people returning from abroad. This has helped successfully identify Covid-19 positive people coming into the country," Dr al-Kuwari added.