South Africa: Top Health Adviser Says Nation's Coronavirus Testing Approach Was Initially Too Limited

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The chair of South Africa's Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has acknowledged that the country's initial approach to coronavirus testing may have been too restrictive. Abdool Karim made the comments during a Daily Maverick webinar on Wednesday, in which he also explained why SA's approach to the pandemic has been unique internationally.

Top health adviser Professor Salim Abdool Karim has said that local health authorities may initially have erred in their approach to who could get tested for coronavirus.

"The area we fell short, I feel - and I take the blame as much as anyone else - is that we didn't do enough testing because we didn't release the requirements for testing; we didn't ease the criteria for testing," Abdool Karim said.

"We didn't ease it for perhaps good reason, but the net effect is that we are now playing catch-up."

Until a few days ago, coronavirus tests in South Africa were reserved for people who fell into the following categories: those who had developed some respiratory symptoms and had either returned to South Africa from countries with local transmission within the past 14 days or had had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

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