The Health Minister Chris Fearne said that there were over 9,000 swab tests already booked until November 01.
Replying to a parliamentary question tabled by Nationalist MP Maria Deguara, Fearne explained that swab tests are made according to a priority list devised by the health authorities.
The Minister said that all persons who will test positive from the rapid antigen test will be given top priority. Likewise, all health workers and people in need of accommodation will be treated with the same urgency.
Family members of positive patients and others who had direct contact with a positive case will be given an appointment within a week.
Travelers coming from countries outside the amber list and people working in schools will be tested within 10 days.
Low priority is given to any family members of people who were in contact with a positive case.
Fearne revealed that as part of the pre-operation process, every patient will be routinely screened and these are performed in the Mater Dei swab testing centre.
These tests are conducted in the morning, swabs tests for health workers showing symptoms or returning from abroad will be performed soon after, whereas swab tests for family members of health workers are done early in the afternoon. From 4pm onwards, people from the community can be swabbed at Mater Dei.
Fearne explained that with the current backlog, people in the first category are given an appointment within 24 hours. Health workers are swabbed the same day. Family members of a positive case are given an appointment within four days.
Travelers and school workers are swabbed in seven days. Elderly people living in residential homes are being swabbed by their nurse and the samples are taken directly to a laboratory at Mater Dei.