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New round of COVID-19 rapid test rationing to start Dec. 1

2022-11-25
Focus Taiwan
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) A new round of the government's rationing program which allows people to buy cheaper COVID-19 rapid test kits will begin on Dec. 1, while seniors and families with young children will be able to pick up new free test kits, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.

Holders of National Health Insurance (NHI) cards or Alien Resident Certificates (ARC) are entitled to buy up to six packs of COVID-19 rapid test kits, each containing five tests for NT$500 (US$16), the CECC said.

Although Taiwan has gradually phased out the need to present a negative rapid test at certain occasions and venues over the past two months, the CECC advises that people should still take a rapid test if they experience COVID-like symptoms.

Eligible individuals can buy all six packs at once, or the amount they need when they make the purchase, but the test kits are not refundable, the CECC said.

Free tests for children, seniors

Meanwhile, children born on or after Sept. 2, 2016 and individuals born in 1957 or before are entitled to a free pack of five tests, in addition to the six packs they can purchase under the government scheme, the CECC added.

The CECC reminded parents that the rapid tests should not be used on children under the age of 2, even though those young children are still entitled to free test kits.

The rationed test kits will be distributed through 4,473 NHI-contracted pharmacies, and 79 public health centers in rural areas, according to the CECC.

The rationing program was first launched on April 28, when each individual could only buy one pack. The current round, the seventh since the launch of the scheme, began on Nov. 1.

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