Demand for self-test kits to go up


STAR

JOHOR BARU: Pharmacies here are expecting to see an increase in demand for Covid-19 self-test kits this weekend as the fully vaccinated start travelling across state borders.

Pharmacist Nur Ermalina Jadi @ Mohd Faiz said there had already been an increase in the number of people buying self-test kits since the government lifted the interstate travel ban on Monday.

“We expect to see more people buying the kits this weekend as they have time off from work to travel across states,” she said.

Nur Ermalina, 30, said her pharmacy here sells between 70 and 80 self-test kits a week.

“For now, the majority of those buying the kits are people who want to travel by air or those who need to take the test for work.

“There are also those who buy it as their own initiative to keep themselves safe,” she added.

She said there is an ample supply of the kits and the pharmacy hasn’t had any trouble stocking up.

Pharmacist assistant Fatin Najihah Mohd Yusof, 23, said she has not seen any surge in demand, but her pharmacy is prepared in any case.

“We expect the surge to happen by the end of this week or in the weeks to come. We are prepared and have stocked up to make sure we can cater to demand,” she added.

Another pharmacist, who only wanted to be known as Lim, 42, said he expects people to start stocking up on self-test kits only after the government introduces a lower ceiling price.

“We anticipated a surge in demand once the government lifted the interstate travel restrictions, but so far it has not happened.

“I believe people are also waiting for the government to announce a lower ceiling price before they start buying more kits for travel and to keep at home for emergencies,” he added.

Last Thursday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government plans to lower the ceiling price for Covid-19 self-test kits, but it would not be too soon.

He said the Health Ministry and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry have discussed lowering the ceiling price, but the government decided to give traders some time to make the transition.

Currently, the ceiling retail price for self-test kits is RM19.90 while the wholesale price is RM16.

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