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Taiwan residents can use rapid test to verify COVID, enable prescriptions from May 26

Starting Thursday, all Taiwan residents can be evaluated for COVID medication

(Unsplash photo)

(Unsplash photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (May 24) announced that rapid antigen tests can be used by all Taiwan residents in place of PCR tests to confirm COVID-19 infections as soon as Thursday (May 26), enabling them to be evaluated for COVID medications.

During a press conference that afternoon, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that all members of the public will be able to use a rapid antigen test instead of a PCR test to confirm that they are a COVID case as soon as Thursday, depending on the speed of preparations at hospitals. Chen said that the quantity of oral antiviral medications is starting to keep pace with the number of patients prescribed the pills and that this situation will continue to improve as supplies increase.

According to CECC statistics, 7,431 prescriptions were issued for oral antiviral drugs on Monday (May 23), including 5,860 for Pfizer's Paxlovid and 1,571 for Merck's Molnupiravir. A total of 41,772 prescriptions for COVID medications have been issued this year, including 33,102 courses of Paxlovid and 8,670 courses of Molnupiravir.

Chen emphasized that not everyone who is infected with COVID needs antiviral drugs. He added that prescriptions are currently limited to the elderly and those with severe risk factors, with physicians deciding the appropriate medication for each patient.

He pointed out that more doses of Molnupiravir will arrive in the near future and be distributed as soon as possible. It is hoped that high-risk subjects can receive the medicine as soon as possible to prevent their condition from deteriorating while their symptoms are still mild, said Chen.

In addition to the arrival of more oral antiviral drugs, Chen said that at this stage, the supply of rapid antigen test kits is plentiful and there is no need for the public to rush to buy them, nor should they hoard them. As of Tuesday, 4,932 institutions have a total of 1.189 million government-rationed rapid antigen test kits in stock.

Chen said that as of noon on Tuesday, only two pharmacies had sold out of rationed rapid-antigen test kits. Since a real-name registration system was implemented for rapid test kits, a total of 8.74 million kits have been sold containing more than 43.7 million tests.