Home Covid-19 test kits approved, but not for travel

PHOTO: Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits are available now, but don't replace official tests and certificates to travel. (via Wikimedia)

With Covid-19 on the rise, screening kit shortages have left people waiting for RT-PCR tests from professional testing sites and medical facilities. Now Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration approved 4 Covid-19 antigen test kits that can be purchased over-the-counter for home use to test for the virus.

The 4 approved self-testing kits will allow people concerned that they may have been exposed and contracted the virus to test as soon as possible and not wait days, possibly exposing others and spreading Covid-19. The rapid test kits have been reworked and repackaged to make them more usable for non-professional use so people can take the tests by themselves, without the need for medical professionals.

Some licensed pharmacies, state-run healthcare facilities, and government offices have the Covid-19 self-testing kits available now. Officials warn people to not fall prey to people advertising or selling kits outside of these locations or selling anything other than the 4 approved brands. People caught selling could face up to 50,000 baht in fines and a maximum of 6 months in jail.

Meanwhile, those hoping these home kits would make it easier for them to provide negative tests at travel checkpoints will be disappointed to learn that they have not been approved for official proof. The director of Vachira Phuket Hospital explains that the test kits can help catch Covid-19 infections early to prevent the spread of the virus, but they are not official professionally administered tests.

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“The test kits are only for initial tests, which cannot be used as proof for travelling. Only a test certificate issued by a medical institution can be used as proof. If anyone tests positive, they still need to take an RT-PCR test at a hospital for confirmation.”

34 provinces designated dark red or red zones at high risk for Covid-19 are required to show RT-PCR test certificates with negative results within the last week to enter zones like the Phuket Sandbox, so the home testing kits would not be enough.

The director outlined the basics of using the Covid-19 home test kits. Home users should wash their hands and a clean cup thoroughly before beginning. The kit includes a cotton swab, a tube of testing liquid, and a tester. The cotton swab is put up your nose at least a few centimetres, as far as it can reach without pain and then rotate the swab inside 5 or 6 times. Then insert the swab into the testing liquid tube, rotate it 4 or 5 times, and shake it a few times then let it sit a few minutes. Finally, put the liquid in the tester for 15 minutes. Liquid at the C marking means a negative test, while liquid at the C and T lines is a positive test result.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post and The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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