Workers unload laboratory equipment that has just arrived in Bintulu, which is setting up its own laboratory for Covid-19 testing. The lab, expected to be operational in two weeks’ time, will mean samples need not be sent to Sibu or Kuching anymore, but analysed locally.

KUCHING: A laboratory is being set up in Bintulu for the purpose of Covid-19 testing as well as the testing of 40 other types of viruses.

It is expected to be operational in two weeks’ time.

Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, in announcing this, said the equipment needed for the laboratory as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE) supply for frontliners arrived on Friday on board a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircraft.

“By setting up this laboratory, the collected virus test samples from the population are expected to yield accurate results within hours and speed up the process to provide effective treatment for patients.

“This should greatly lessen the delays experienced in Bintulu when samples had to be sent to Sibu or Kuching for testing and the results returned to Bintulu,” Tiong said in a statement on Friday night.

The laboratory equipment along with PPE supply for frontliners arrives in Bintulu.

He added when the backlog for people waiting for their test results was reduced, the frontliners could work quickly to trace the source of infections and begin the containment process of affected family members and other contacts.

“Risk groups can be reduced and infections within communities stopped with the appropriate isolation measures,” he said.

Tiong, who is also Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China,  thanked Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Harbour-Link Group managing director Datuk Francis Yong Piaw Soon for making the  laboratory possible.

He also said a portion of the much-needed equipment was given to Bintulu Hospital for the purpose of setting up a laboratory there.

“Bintulu’s medical and testing equipment must be improved to accommodate its population growth. The service centre here recently launched a special laboratory construction fund with a target of RM1.35 million.

“The funds will used to purchase laboratory equipment for a variety of bacterial vaccines and to establish a laboratory for the people of Bintulu,” he said.