90m Rapid Test Kits to Be Available Before End of June 陳時中:目前存貨緊 6月底前可供9千萬劑

On May 9, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung told lawmakers that 90 million rapid test kits would become available before the end of June.

Price-controlled rapid test kits are sold out everywhere. Local governments and lawmakers alike are blasting the central government's allocation scheme, which does not take population density or infection hot zones into account.

Su Chiao-hui, Legislator (DPP): “When will Taiwan get an adequate supply for rapid test kits? Why is there a shortage even in Keelung now?”

Chen Shih-chung, Central Epidemic Command Center Chief: “We conducted a survey on May 4 and asked local governments to give us a number. After that, we looked at need and past usage numbers and made an adjustment.”

Chen Shih-chung says there were 0.9 percent of price-controlled test kits still available as of the 8th. According to Chen, Roche will supply 50 million requisitioned kits this month and 45 more million kits would become available before the end of June. Chen also said Taiwan has to ride out the current wave of infection before discussions can be held -- perhaps in mid-July -- on whether COVID-19 should be downgraded from a Category V to a Category IV communicable disease.

Chen Shih-chung, Central Epidemic Command Center Chief: “Category V communicable diseases are very different from Category IV communicable diseases. Category V diseases are highly infectious and require strict controls. Category IV diseases are subject to only general controls.”

According to Chen, the central government is allocating more than enough rapid test kits to every municipality and local governments need to adjust their statistics if they find there is a shortage. He also said local officials should stop complaining to the media and they can write or call the relevant central agency to solve the shortage problem.