CORONAVIRUS/Rationing system for COVID-19 rapid tests to launch in May

04/24/2022 08:26 PM
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A pharmacy in Taipei posts a note saying it has no rapid tests in stock. CNA photo April 21, 2022
A pharmacy in Taipei posts a note saying it has no rapid tests in stock. CNA photo April 21, 2022

Taipei, April 24 (CNA) Taiwan will launch a name-based rationing scheme for COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in early May, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Sunday.

Speaking at the daily Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) press briefing, Chen said the government would initially release around 50 million rapid tests in packs of five, or enough for 10 million people.

Amid skyrocketing demand, at-home COVID-19 test kits have been unobtainable in many parts of Taiwan recently, despite a government requisitioning program launched April 14, which aims to secure 40 million tests per month.

On Sunday, Chen said the government was in the process of releasing 1.235 million rapid tests onto the market, in a bid to increase their availability before the rationing program gets underway.

Taiwan, which launched a similar rationing scheme for surgical masks in February 2020, is gearing up for a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections which the National Health Research Institutes estimates could peak at around 45,000 cases per day.

Update: Taiwan to start rationing sale of COVID-19 rapid test kits on April 28 (April 27)

The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 24, Taiwan recorded 31,402 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 10,349 from 2,375 on Dec. 31, 2021.
The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 24, Taiwan recorded 31,402 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 10,349 from 2,375 on Dec. 31, 2021.

On Sunday, the country reported a record 5,172 COVID-19 infections, though over 99.6 percent of cases this year have been asymptomatic or mild, according to CECC data.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Phoenix Hsu and Matthew Mazzetta)

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