The Public Health Ministry has approved in principle for rapid antigen tests to be made available for the public to purchase from Bangkok clinics and pharmacies. The idea is to relieve the pressure on hospitals struggling to meet an increasing demand for PCR tests as infections rise.
According to a Pattaya News report, officials will meet today to confirm the final details of the policy. Rapid antigen tests have already been approved for use in public and private hospitals, at the Bangkok Public Health Service Centre, and at community clinics. They are used to test “patients under investigation”, who report Covid-like symptoms and who are considered “at-risk”. Making them available to the public would allow people to carry out their own tests at home. If given final approval today, it’s understood the tests will be available from clinics and pharmacies this week, priced at 300 – 400 baht.
However, according to Paisan Dankhum from the Food and Drug Administration, the decision first needs to be published in the Royal Gazette, which may delay things. He adds that anyone who gets a positive result from a rapid antigen test will still need a PCR test to confirm the result.
The National Communicable Disease Committee meets today to discuss making rapid antigen tests available to the public, with Paisan saying instructions will also be issued for the correct use of the tests. If approved, the tests will only be available in Bangkok initially, meaning residents in other provinces will not be able to purchase them at this time.
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SOURCE: The Pattaya News
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