Malta has no intention of allowing people to start testing themselves for COVID-19 at home through self-testing kits in the near future.
“Different countries make different decisions,” Chief Medical Officer Walter Busuttil said during a recent interview on TVAM.
“We started off with only the Health Department offering tests, then we extended it to private hospitals, and then even to pharmacies. So far the decision has been not to go for self-testing kits.”
Busuttil said Malta’s reluctance stems from concern that people who self-test “can make their own decisions without receiving advice” and that the tests themselves aren’t “100% accurate”.
“The biggest advantage of self-tests is when they’re carried out repeatedly, day by day and they’re constantly negative. However, one negative test isn’t a precise result.”
Busuttil said the recent long delays many experienced when applying for tests at a public health centre was due to a rush of people wanting to get tested quickly before travelling for the Christmas holidays.
“However, people are now realising that if they want quick swabs to travel, there are alternatives besides public health. So that’s slowly relaxing the pressure on hospital swab tests.”
A number of countries, including the UK, allow self-testing kits and the Nationalist Party and the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine recently proposed that Malta allow them too.
Should Malta allow self-testing kits?