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NIP still incapable of national mass-testing – Uirab

The chief executive officer of the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), Dr David Uirab, has said they still are not capable of mass-testing the rest of Namibia amidst rising Corona Virus cases with statistics now above half a thousand.
This is also despite NIP receiving 100 000 testing kits a few days ago.
Uirab has thus disregarded a report by one daily social media outlet which reported over the weekend that with the new kits, NIP would roll out mass testing right across Namibia.
“Let me just say this, the testing strategy is not determined by us as NIP, it is the public health authority, it is the ministry of health, epidemiologists and surveillance people who determine the strategy for testing. We are on the other side receiving the samples and doing the testing. But as far as mass testing is concerned, you will recall that the minister keeps on correcting the journalists when they keep talking about mass testing. The ministry is doing targeted expanded testing, not mass-testing,” said Uirab.
What this means is that not everyone is being and will be tested.
“We do not have the capacity to do that,” said Uirab.
The Erongo governor, Andre Neville has earlier announced that they are going to test 2 000 in Walvis to check which sections of the town are most affected and then home into the clusters identified through that testing process.
Uirab has also come out to clarify that what is happening at the coast is not mass testing, but targeted testing that seeks to pin down the virus at point of infection.
This has led to a lot of samples going the way of NIP in the past few weeks.
NIP has reached 5 000 samples in terms of the backlog over the last week and that has been worked down to 2 500.
About 25 to 30 samples per day were being tested at first but NIP is now testing close to 500 per day while about 600 samples are being received daily.
“So it has been a battle to deal with the backlog,” he said.
Uirab, echoing sentiments expressed by some South African scientists, said mass testing would be a wastage of resources, making it a bad idea.
He said the major issue should not be about mass-testing but hammering on the message of self-preventive methods like social distancing, hand-washing and social distancing.

Julia Heita

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