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MoH announces COVID guideline changes

The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday issued a statement on the changes in the guideline for the use of antigen rapid test (ART) for COVID-19. The changes will be implemented on March 1.

Based on the observations and the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), the ministry said the use of the ART kit will be reserved for those who experience symptoms of infections.

Anyone who tests positive for the virus is advised to report the result in the BruHealth app. A three-day sick leave certificate from the MoH will be issued through the app and the certificate can only be obtained through the app once every six months. Repeated testing are no longer required before the end of the sick leave.

Civil servants who test positive for COVID-19 for the second time or continuously within six months and require rest can obtain self-certified sick leave as stated in the current civil service policy, while employees in the private sector can obtain sick leave in accordance to the rules of their workplaces.

The use of the ART kit prior to attending any events is no longer recommended since pre-event testing does not have a significant impact on the epidemiology of the infection.

Therefore, the MoH said the public is not required to upload their ART results onto the BruHealth app prior to the event.

The use of green and purple codes will also no longer be required. As such, the codes will be discontinued in the app. Meanwhile, the purple code will be replaced by the sick leave certificate.

The ART kit at hospitals and clinics will be used for certain groups of patients, such as those admitted to the ward, those seeking treatment in the accident and emergency unit and those experiencing signs of a respiratory infection.

In line with the WHO’s recommendations, the ministry will also continue to carry out genetic sequencing testing for SARS-CoV-2, said the MoH. – James Kon