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Taiwan COVID rapid test kit rationing system goes live April 28

Service to address woes of inadequate supplies of COVID home test gear

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The COVID-19 self-test kit rationing system will kick off Thursday (April 28) as Taiwanese authorities scramble to ensure supplies of the gear amid high demand.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Wednesday (April 27) details of the nationwide home test purchase system in response to complaints about the limited availability of such tools. The country is experiencing a surge in local infections and has rolled out a flurry of new quarantine instructions that require plenty of self-administered screening.

People will be able to buy a pack of five COVID test kits by presenting their National Health Insurance (NHI) card. A kit comes at NT$100 (US$3.40) a unit, much less expensive than what can be purchased on the market.

Similar to a medical mask distribution scheme rolled out during the early phase of the pandemic, the system dictates that individuals whose ID number ends in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 can acquire a pack on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those whose ID number ends in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 can do so on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Sunday is open to all. The service applies to all who have an NHI card or a resident certificate regardless of age, according to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control. At least 50 million test kits will be offered via the rationing system.

Visit the websites of the National Health Insurance Administration, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration, or Federation of Taiwan Pharmacists Association for information on pharmacies where such items are available.