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Local demand outstrips supply for virus tests

People not at high risk of contracting Covid-19 should stop going for tests after three hospitals in Bangkok complained of a shortage of testing solution, according to government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.

She said many people have asked to be tested at both the state-run and private hospitals where manpower and resources have been overstretched and the test solution is also in short supply.

The government is doing its best to shore up the solution supply, she said, after three hospitals — Ramathibodi and two private hospitals, Phyathai 2 and Paolo Kaset — announced they have suspended testing because they had no more solution left in their stocks.

In the meantime, the Department of Medical Sciences has a large batch coming in tomorrow for distribution to hospitals, she said.

Ms Narumon also appealed to people not in high-risk groups — those with a fever or other related symptoms and who have come into contact with infected persons — to stay home.

The spokeswoman insisted that over-testing could lead to false negatives as the disease can take up to 14 days to show up in a test result, which is why the government is still insisting people self-isolate first.

In recent days, the Urban Institute for Disease Prevention and Control in Bang Khen district has been packed with people seeking a Covid-19 test. The institute has had to turn away many as it seeks to focus resources on those at genuine risk of infection.

Anek Mung-ormklang, the institute’s director, said there was also a real concern that many people gathering at the institute could spread the virus and make the situation worse.

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