Selangor Journal
Selcare Health personnel collecting a samples from a Covid-19 test during the Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Ag) programme at the Selcare Cinic in Shah Alam, on January 22, 2021. — Picture by HAFIZ OTHMAN/SELANGORKINI

Thailand approves sale of Covid-19 antigen test kits for public

BANGKOK, July 14 — Thais can test for Covid-19 right at their home starting next week when the Covid-19 antigen test kits will be available for sale at authorized hospitals and clinics.

The kits will also be available at pharmacies with a licensed pharmacist on duty approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The approval of the antigen test kits for sale was published in Royal Gazette on Tuesday.

Thailand has been predominantly using Real Time Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kits to confirm the diagnosis. However, due to long queues at testing facilities especially in Bangkok, the epicentre of the latest outbreak, the kits now available for people to test at home and mitigate the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.  

Meanwhile, FDA Secretary-General Dr Paisarn Dunkum  said FDA will be working closely with the Ministry of Commerce to ensure the products will be available at reasonable prices.

“However, the test kits will not be available online,” he said.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the National Communicable Disease Committee (NCDC) approved the use of the antigen test kits at 300 hospitals and medical labs which also provide verified RT-PCR tests.

To date, a total of 24 brands of the kits have been approved by the FDA.

Meanwhile, the cabinet on Tuesday approved 42 billion baht of relief measures that provide financial support to businesses and workers impacted by the latest restrictions imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the kingdom.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the measures include compensation for employers and employees in Bangkok and nine provinces under the “maximum and strict controlled area”.

“It is estimated the value of the aid is 30 billion baht,” he said in a statement.

The aid is limited to those in nine sectors: construction; accommodation and food services; arts, entertainment and recreational activities; other services as stated by the Social Security Office; transportation and warehouses; wholesale and retail businesses; administration and service support; science and academic activities; and information and communications.

Besides that, he added that the government would provide utility subsidies for two month worth about 12 billion baht.

Starting Monday, Thailand imposed stringent measures including night curfew from 9 pm to 4 am and closure of malls, with gatherings limited to 5 persons in Bangkok and nine other provinces to halt the spread of Covid-19.

— Bernama

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