Self-test kits back in supply

Back on the shelves: A variety of Covid-19 test kits being sold at a pharmacy in Petaling Jaya. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The shortage of Covid-19 antigen rapid test kits (RTK) in the country will be over soon, says the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Its enforcement director Azman Adam said the supply in certain locations was disrupted following the surge of Covid-19 cases in the country, coupled with delivery delays from manufacturers in China over the Chinese New Year holidays.

“Based on the information received by the ministry, the supply of test kits faced a slight disruption in certain localities recently due to delays in delivery and with manufacturers mainly from China temporarily halting their operations due to the Chinese New Year celebrations.

“At the same time, there was also an increase in Covid-19 cases in the country due to the new Omicron variant and this led to a strong demand in the market for self-test kits.

“Factors such as public holidays, the reopening of economic sectors, schools and educational institutions also contributed to the increased demand for test kits.

“This was due to the recommendation by the Health Ministry that parents and students constantly do self-monitoring as one of the steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Azman told Sunday Star yesterday.

However, he said the supply of these test kits is expected to recover soon as manufacturers, wholesalers, and logistics and delivery companies have started to become fully operational again.

Azman said the ministry also instructed manufacturers to increase the production and supply of these test kits to wholesalers and retailers immediately to guarantee their availability.

On Thursday, The Star reported that there was a shortage of Covid-19 self-test kits in various locations such as the Klang Valley and Sabah over the Chinese New Year and Federal Territories public holidays.

Azman advised users not to resort to panic buying, saying that based on its enforcement and monitoring statistics, to date, there are approximately 18 million Covid-19 self-test kits available in the market.

He added that the number of complaints received by the ministry regarding the lack of self-test kits is also very low – there was only one complaint from Jan 1 to Feb 11 this year.

He also noted that the ministry had capped the price of Covid-19 self-test kits at RM19.90 (retail) and RM16 (wholesale) since Sept 5 last year.

Users who have any information related to misconduct by dealers can complain through the WhatsApp number 019-279 4317, at the online portal, email, call centre 1-800-886 800 or use the mobile app Ez ADU KPDNHEP.

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