Netherlands flies in over 130 000 vials of Covid-19 solution to help SA ramp up testing

  • The donation of the 130 879 vials will be used by the National Health Laboratories Services.
  • The donation arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday aboard a cargo flight from Amsterdam.
  • 13 172 new Covid-19 cases have been reported, taking SA's confirmed infections to a total of 324 221. 

Over 100 000 vials of GLY, used in testing and diagnosing Covid-19, has been donated to South Africa by the Netherlands.

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The Glucose-Lactalbumin-Yeast, a virus transportation medium for human samples used in testing and diagnosing the coronavirus, arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday aboard a cargo flight from Amsterdam.

According to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, the donation of the 130 879 vials will be used by the National Health Laboratories Services to enable it to ramp up testing.

Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok
Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok and International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.

Statistics released on Thursday show 13 172 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in the past day, taking South Africa's confirmed infections to a total of 324 221.

An additional 216 fatalities have been recorded, with the death toll now at 4 669.

Substantial supply

The delivery comes less than a fortnight after Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor requested assistance from Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, the embassy said.

"The request for assistance came during a call between ministers Blok and Pandor to discuss a range of international issues, including the AU-EU partnership and the global Covid-19 pandemic," it said.

"The ministers exchanged their governments' experiences in responding to the crisis and identified areas of additional cooperation and international assistance.

"Minister Pandor indicated some areas where the international community could be of assistance to South Africa in these challenging times, including with respect to Covid-19 testing material."

The embassy said the Netherlands was in a position to secure and transport a substantial supply of GLY, a solution which improves the sensitivity of Covid-19 test results.

Adding the testing swab to the solution after sample collection significantly improves sample preservation and diagnostic yield, the embassy explained in the statement.

Netherlands Ambassador to South Africa, Han Peters, said a worldwide shortage of medical resources was being experienced, but that the Netherlands and the European Union was in a "privileged position" to offer support to SA.

Dr Kamy Chetty, NHLS CEO said as the country faced a peak in Covid-19 infections, specifically in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, it was "grateful for the transport medium which will assist us as we strive to mitigate Covid-19 in South Africa".

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