With an increasing demand for rapid antigen tests among public and private institutions, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications said it had placed purchase orders for 800,000 more of them.
Mok Rady, head of the ministry’s General Department of Administration, said the ministry had received 1,405 purchase orders amounting to 400,000 tests as of July 6.
He noted that in the past five days alone, 105,000 tests had been sold to various institutions.
“With the increasing demand, according to our estimates, over the next one to two weeks at least 800,000 tests will be required to supply ministries and institutions which have made requests,” he said.
Rady continued that on an average day now more than 100 institutions asked to purchase the test kits.
The ministry receives shipments of the rapid antigen tests from South Korea twice a week – on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation have recognised the validity of the tests, Rady said.
He said factories that produce the tests had received requests from more than 100 countries and had yet to meet 100 per cent of their demand.
He also noted that households had also made requests to purchase tests, but in principle the ministry has prioritised institutions with a large number of staff members and a high risk for Covid-19 infections. Requests by households, he said, will be addressed later.
As planned, the ministry will import 300,000 tests a week and they will be shipped to those who placed orders for them in succession.
In regards to training people to use the tests, Rady said the ministry was prepared.
“We have a working group to provide information and train them to use the tests in cooperation with the sub-commission on training work under the umbrella of the commission to combat Covid-19,” he said.
The ministry also cooperated with the health ministry to produce a video educating people on use of the tests. They have also provided some institutions with help training them online and in person.
“But institutions which have a lot of staff members need no training – they only need the tests because they usually have medical staff of their own,” Rady said.
Chim Tola, a private company representative, said he requested 100 tests for his company.
“My company has a residential building for staff and in principle, the company requires any staff members who go out to visit family or eat outside or travel to another province be tested when they re-enter the premise,” he said.
Tola added that when they are being tested they are required to self-isolate in a room and do a health follow-up for seven to 14 days before being allowed to return to work.