No reason to panic-buy ART kits, say distributors
Kits sold out at some retailers amid spike in daily cases; stocks being replenished
Antigen rapid test (ART) kits are in short supply in certain places in Singapore, with some pharmacies and retailers reporting that their stocks have sold out amid a spike in daily coronavirus cases, which have crossed 1,000 in the past week.
But distributors here said there is no reason to panic-buy the kits as there is adequate stock available locally.
At least six retailers in Toa Payoh Central, VivoCity and Bukit Panjang had run out of ART kits when The Straits Times visited yesterday.
Demand for the kits has increased almost fivefold in recent weeks, spokesmen for Guardian and Watsons, two major health retail chains here, said in response to queries from The Straits Times. Both said they were working with suppliers to bring in more stock.
The Guardian spokesman said more stock will be available this week and assured customers that there are sufficient test kits.
FairPrice is working with the Health Sciences Authority to ensure sufficient supplies and a wider selection of kits to meet demand that has doubled in the past week, said its spokesman.
Distributors here told ST there is enough stock in their warehouses.
When asked about test kits running out at pharmacies, Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said: "We actually have a lot of test kits, I think it is just an issue of supply, distribution and allocation."
The surge in demand comes after Singapore ramped up self-testing efforts to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Test kits have been issued to all households, primary and pre-school pupils and selected sectors to slow community spread.
Buyers could purchase up to only 10 kits at a time when they were made available at retail pharmacies in June. But the cap was lifted when sales were extended to supermarkets and convenience stores in July.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: ISABELLE LIEW