Covid test allocation system implemented
The government has now begun rationing the sale of coronavirus rapid test kits. Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says from today the kits will be available at controlled prices at contracted pharmacies and public health centres islandwide.
Under the rationing plan, the public will be required to present their National Health Insurance card or Alien Resident Certificates to buy one test kit package each on designated days.The last digit of the identification card number will determine which days the holder will be able to purchase a kit. The kits will be sold on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to people with an odd number as the last digit on their cards, while those with an even number will be able to buy the tests on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The test kits will be available to anyone who holds a National Health Insurance card or residency permit on Sundays.
According to the health minister, the 10 million packets that are being distributed under the rationing program each contain five rapid tests at a controlled price of NT$500 per pack.Nearly 5,000 National Health Insurance Administration-contracted pharmacies and 58 public health centres will be selling the rationed test kits.
This comes after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 8,822 new local cases of Covid-19 yesterday, a new single day record for Taiwan. The CECC says, of the day’s cases, 14 were listed as moderate, and 2 as severe, with 2 new deaths from the disease also reported.New Taipei City registered 3,241 new cases, while Taipei City registered 1,892, and Taoyuan registered 1,452.
Both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition Kuomintang (KMT) are calling on the government to immediately address public concerns about a shortage of coronavirus rapid antigen test kits.According to KMT Deputy Secretary-General Wang Yu-min, the introduction of the "3 4" quarantine policy is increasingpressure on local governments, many of which are already struggling with shortages of test kits.Wang is also warning that the failure of the government to ensure an adequate supply could lead to hoarding and panic buying.
Keelung Mayor Lin You-chang of the DPP is urging the central government to provide his city with more rapid test kits and the manpower to administer PCR tests.Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan, also of the DPP, is suggesting that in addition to the central government's test kit rationing scheme, local governments should be allowed to retain a test reserve equivalent to 10% of their population while DPP Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che is urging the government to introduce clearer regulations for local governments that want to import rapid tests on their own.