CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to simplify rapid test rationing plan starting June 13

06/11/2022 07:31 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Taiwan will no longer limit the specific days people can buy COVID-19 rapid test kits under the government's rationing scheme, starting June 13, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Saturday.

Under the current plan, rapid test kit buyers can only purchase their kit of five tests on designated days based on the final digit of their national health insurance card or Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) number.

Those with an odd number as the last digit can buy the kits on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays while those with an even number as the last digit are able to buy the tests on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Starting Monday, however, people eligible to buy the rapid test kits can purchase them on any day of the week, Chen said, because of adequate supplies of the product.

Chen said the even number/odd number rule was part of the first round of the rationing program that began on April 28 and continued after the launch of the second round on June 6 due to concerns over the available inventory of the rapid test kits.

Long lines could be seen outside of pharmacies through much of the first half of May as people wanted to be sure to get one of the kits allocated to each pharmacy, but the situation began to ease in the second half of the month.

Taiwan needed to ration COVID-19 test kits as COVID-19 cases spiked in April, leading to soaring demand for tests that could determine whether people were infected or not.

The surge made it harder to get access to the more accurate but slower PCR tests, sparking demand for the faster rapid tests.

The rapid test kits can be purchased with a national health insurance card or ARC at 4,826 NHI-contracted pharmacies and 79 public health centers throughout the country at a controlled price of NT$500 (US$17) per kit.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Yu Hsiao-han and James Lo)

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Update

Sept. 1: Taiwan's new COVID-19 policies taking effect Sept. 1

Aug. 25: Taiwan to distribute free rapid test kits to seniors in September

Aug. 17: BA. 5 COVID subvariant outbreaks expected to increase: CECC

Aug. 12: Fourth round of rapid test rationing plan to start Aug. 15

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