Dr Naresh Nandram, principal medical officer, epidemiology says one of the Health Ministry’s main concerns is patients’ dishonesty and forgetfulness when answering questions for contact tracing.
As a result a second type of covid19 testing will be introduced.
He made the statement at the Health Ministry’s virtual press conference on Monday morning.
He said, “This is a diagnostic test, meaning it tells us if someone today has covid19.
"To support that and the efforts of contact tracing, we’re introducing a serological test. What this test will tell us is whether or not someone, at some point in the past, outside the window of the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, has been exposed to covid19 and subsequently recovered.”
He said the public can expect this in the “very near future.”
Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds shared similar concerns about patients' honesty or accuracy, saying, “We will ask questions, we will come back and ask again or ask in different manners, we will provide cues to jog memory – because it is sometimes quite difficult to remember all places persons may have been or visited.”
He said people who believe they may have come into contact with a covid19 patient have been using the ministry’s hotline, and this fills some of the gaps.
“We do want to encourage persons to be as honest and as forthright as possible, knowing that is a variable on which we don’t have external control. We’re going to have to rely on members of the public, to be honest…
"The gaps generated by dishonesty can create a route and avenue for a transmission we are unable to direct and trace.”