The Department of Health said Wednesday it was not recommending rapid tests as stand-alone screening method for COVID-19, as roughly a quarter of the population shfited to a GCQ with fewer restrictions.
Rapid tests should not be used for diagnosis, screening, return to work decisions and travel entry decisions, the DOH said. The RT-PCR or swab test is still the "gold standard" for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Rapid tests have "low sensitive and high false negative rates, as well as uncertainties to its connection to immunity," the DOH said. A rapid test detects antibodies in the blood while the RT-PCR detects the virus in samples taken from the nose or throat.
Citing the World Health Organization, the DOH said rapid tests should be done "in research settings (and) clinical decision-making" until evidence supporting use for specific indications is available."