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Online sales of COVID test kits banned in Taiwan

Self-administered screenings pose safety risks, authorities warn

A health worker performs rapid tests for COVID-19. 

A health worker performs rapid tests for COVID-19.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The public has been warned against purchasing rapid testing kits for the coronavirus from online sellers, with fines of up to NT$2 million (US$72,000).

The recent spike in local cases has led to a rise in the group buying of testing kits, with some vendors using social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to solicit potential buyers.

Lin Hsin-hui (林欣慧), an official at the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), has cautioned against such sales. The screening tools are medical equipment, which can only be traded by licensed businesses, she said.

Purchasing or selling these medical products online or via telecommunications is also outlawed, with violators subject to a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$1 million, pursuant to the Medical Devices Act. Shopping can constitute more than one offense and hence earn a heavier fine.

While individuals and companies are allowed to buy COVID testing kits from legal businesses, Lin cautioned that self-administered screening could cause safety and accuracy concerns, as such tests have so far only been carried out by medical workers in Taiwan, wrote UDN.

Updated : 2021-06-17 07:42 GMT+08:00