Saturday, October 23, 2021

Govt looking to make Covid self-test kits cheaper by year-end

The retail price ceiling is currently RM19.90 per set while the wholesale limit is RM16.

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The government is looking at making further downward revisions to the price of Covid-19 self-test kits by the end of the year to make them more accessible to the public.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry and the health ministry are looking into the matter.

“To expand testing efforts, the health ministry has recognised RTK antigen and approved several Covid-19 self-test kits which can be bought at pharmacies nationwide.

“In making the self-test kits accessible to everyone, the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry and the health ministry have set the price ceiling at below RM20 per set,” he said in a special address during the National Recovery Plan Summit held virtually today.

The government has set the retail price ceiling for Covid-19 antigen rapid test kits at RM19.90 per set and RM16 per set for wholesale, effective Sept 5.

Zafrul said several other measures are also in the pipeline for implementation under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), including the setting up of a call centre to offer immediate assistance in managing Covid-19 causes, and the factoring in of booster shots or multi-year vaccination programmes for public healthcare protocols.

Other than that, he said, whole genome sequencing is being undertaken by the Institute of Medical Research to better detect the presence and spread of new variants, while plans are underway for the expansion of technology and mobile data usage to enhance contact tracing.

“Potential close contacts will soon be identified and notified of the need to quarantine themselves. Asymptomatic cases and cases with minor symptoms are now subject to a home surveillance order,” he said.

Noting that great progress had been seen so far under the NRP, he said there is still much to be done, especially in strengthening the healthcare system’s capacity and nurturing the recovery of the people and industries.

“We do not yet completely know how our economy and way of life will change, but what we can do is to focus our minds and energy on emerging from this crisis as a more resilient nation and Malaysian Family,” he said.

Zafrul also expressed hope that the NRP and Budget 2022 would serve as a template not just for how to exit the pandemic, but also for how to navigate the more pressing challenges ahead.

“We will harness data to help us be more agile and responsive, underscored by the spirit of inclusivity, to serve us on our continued path towards better resilience and shared prosperity.

“To that end, I call on all parties, government, private sector, civil society organisations, to name a few, to come together as one Malaysian Family. Let’s come together, and win together,” he said.

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