MOH News
MOH Increases Capacity of Assir’s Regional Laboratory
06 July 2020

​MOH announced increasing the capacity of the regional laboratory in Assir by over 100% to conduct more COVID-19 lab tests. The current capacity of the lab is 2,400 tests daily, and will increase up to more than 4,000 tests daily. A gradual increase will continue to take place until the capacity reaches 7,000 tests daily. Noteworthy, over 110,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the lab since the onset of the pandemic to date.


The lab includes 14 departments covering all specialties of medical laboratory sciences. It also includes the Central Blood Bank, which is the largest blood bank in the region. Moreover, the departments of Biomolecules and Tuberculosis in the lab were developed to be ideal for conducting respiratory infection tests. Furthermore, a development project of the COVID-19 testing lab was implemented. The lab was established according to the highest standards of quality in terms of design and equipment, in line with the requirements of conducting such tests.

Receiving samples of COVID-19 patients started in mid-April, from the regions of Assir, Najran, and Jazan, in addition to the governorates of Bisha and Al-Qunfudah. The lab receives samples around the clock and adheres to the duration specified by the Ministry of Health. The purpose of this is to achieve advanced results in terms of conducting novel Coronavirus tests, compared to the period when the lab was starting as an accredited entity performing COVID-19 tests. The lab comprises manpower from various hospitals in the region to meet the demand for these tests. It was provided with various types of advanced and modern devices and equipment to improve and speed up the service.

Noteworthy, KSA was one of the first countries in the world to provide COVID-19 lab testing. It prepared and equipped the National Laboratory at the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, making it the only reference lab to examine cases. Furthermore, MOH has recently inaugurated a number of specialized labs and units across KSA. These have created a paradigm shift and improved the service offered to citizens by providing test results in record time. They have also reinforced COVID-19 prevention. 

MOH continues to intensify lab tests through many effective measures that have contributed to early COVID-19 detection and taking quick measures to deal with positive cases. These measures included extensive testing through an active field surveillance implemented by MOH’s field teams. Expanding COVID-19 testing has played an active role in detecting and recording more cases, which has eventually led to better handling of the situation.

The Ministry has also implemented the second stage of the expanded examination. It aimed to assess the general spread of the novel Coronavirus in the Kingdom. This step was a continuation of the precautionary and preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus and preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents. In this phase, the Ministry selected samples of individuals who have undergone the COVID-19 test on ‘Mawid’ application, which qualified them for an examination at health centers.

Moreover, MOH launched ‘Tatamman’ initiative in 237 clinics across the Kingdom. These clinics were made ready to serve individuals who show COVID-19 symptoms and wish to get a check-up. The symptoms could include respiratory problems or a fever. Patients can directly visit the clinics without an appointment. Tatamman clinics operate around the clock, and some of them operate 16 hours a day, all days of the week. 

MOH has also announced completing the operation of the centers of ‘Taakkad’ initiative’s third phase in various cities of the Kingdom. This phase comes within the framework of the expanded examination to assess the spread of COVID-19 in KSA. It was implemented through several outlets, including inside cars through centers established for this purpose in several cities. Primary health care centers (PHCs) also provide examinations and citizens and residents are allowed to book appointments for themselves through ‘Sehaty’ (My Health) application. 

The Ministry stressed that it will continue to expand its COVID-19 testing and launch specialized labs to ensure these tests are conducted according to the highest standards of quality. 







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