SINGAPORE – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) assured the public on Monday (11 Dec) that retailers and pharmacies have sufficient supplies of COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART) kits.
The announcement comes in response to a surge in demand for these kits as the country grapples with increasing coronavirus infections.
According to the MOH, checks conducted by the ministry have indicated that retailers and retail pharmacies are well-stocked with ART kits and are actively restocking their stores to meet the growing demand.
In a statement addressing media queries, the ministry emphasized that additional orders have been placed to ensure an ongoing supply of ART kits to cater to the rising demand.
The MOH disclosed that it maintains a strategic stockpile of ART kits and stands ready to release it to support retailers if the need arises. However, the ministry urged the public to purchase ART kits in quantities that are only sufficient for their immediate needs and discouraged hoarding of supplies.
A spokesperson for health and beauty retailer Guardian revealed to Channel News Asia that the sale of masks and ART kits had witnessed a significant surge, increasing by 50 per cent over the past fortnight.
Additionally, there has been a notable uptick in the demand for cold and flu medication. Guardian assured customers that it is working closely with suppliers to ensure that its stores remain adequately stocked with essential items such as masks, ART kits, and remedies for fever, cough, and cold.
The alarming surge in COVID-19 cases has been evident in the statistics, with the estimated number of cases in the week of 26 November to 2 December soaring to 32,035, compared to 22,094 cases in the previous week.
This spike has also led to an increase in average daily hospitalizations and ICU admissions. The MOH, recognizing the strain on hospitals, stated on 8 Dec that it is closely monitoring the additional workload to ensure that healthcare capacity can cope with the rising numbers.
Despite the surge, the MOH provided reassurance that there is currently no indication that the variants circulating locally are more transmissible or cause more severe disease.
The ministry emphasized that the fifth and most recent exercise of the national distribution of ART kits, conducted from 17 Jul to 30 Sep, saw each household in Singapore receiving six ART kits drawn from the national stockpile.
This stockpile was said to have been created as a proactive measure to mitigate supply chain disruptions and sudden surges in usage.
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