Choosing Between Rapid or PCR? MoPH Amends Policy for COVID-19 Tests
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) approved the use of rapid antigen test for COVID-19 in approved public and private centres effective this Wednesday, 5 January, after a dramatic rise in the number of people requiring swab tests.
Rapid antigen test will now be available for the following categories:
- Individuals under 50 years old who show symptoms of COVID-19
- Individuals under 50 years old who have been in contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19
- For travellers returning to Qatar who need to conduct COVID-19 tests after returning from travel
The rapid antigen test provides a rapid and accurate examination for the detection of COVID-19. Similar to the PCR test, it requires a nasal swab from the individual and the result will be available within a shorter period of time.
People who tested positive in the rapid antigen test need not take an additional PCR test, according to the MoPH. However, people over 50 years old who show symptoms or have been in contact with people infected with COVID-19 will still be subjected to a PCR test.
The policy amendment and the adoption of the rapid antigen test will be effective starting this Wednesday, 5 January.
Related story: New Drive-through PCR Testing Centre to Open in Lusail
The results of rapid antigen tests that are performed in health centres under the Primary Healthcare Corporation (PHCC) will be sent to individuals via SMS within two hours of the test. Their Ehteraz app will also be updated no later than four hours after the test. Rapid antigen test results conducted in private medical facilities will be reflected on the Ehteraz app from Monday, 10 January.
Should you take the test?
For people directly exposed to COVID-positive individuals but who are asymptomatic and who already received their booster dose or the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within the past four months as well as those under 50 years old and do not suffer from any chronic diseases, have the option to undergo a rapid antigen test. The MoPH, however, does not require them to take the test because of their high level of immunity against the virus.
These people, however, must continue to adhere to precautionary measures and wear a mask, in accordance with the policy of the MoPH.
The ministry also stated that unvaccinated individuals, those who have not received their booster dose, or who received the second dose more than four months ago, should take the test. Individuals 50 years and older, meanwhile, are advised to take a PCR test.
More COVID-19-related updates available here.
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