New Covid-19 ART kits to cost 'well below' $10: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE – New, more affordable antigen rapid test (ART) kits for Covid-19 will be made available soon, with the kits expected to cost “well below” $10 and possibly below $5, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

In his opening remarks at the media conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 on Monday (Nov 15), Mr Ong also said that distribution of free ART kits to all Singapore households has been progressing well.

The Straits Times reported on Oct 9 that each household would receive 10 ART kits in a distribution exercise from Oct 22 to December.

Previously, six ART kits were distributed to all households in an exercise from Aug 28 till Sept 27.

Nonetheless, Mr Ong acknowledged that many people still need to purchase additional kits and have been asking for more affordable kits to be supplied.

“(The Ministry of Health) has recognised this and has been working with the HSA (Health Sciences Authority) to introduce more good quality and affordable ART self-test kits in Singapore,” he said.

One of the new self-test kits that has been authorised is called Flowflex. It was approved last week under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) for self-test use, said Mr Ong, who is a co-chair of the task force.

Produced by American firm Acon Laboratories, Flowflex is already available over the counter in both the United States and Britain.

Two other ART kits that have met quality standards have been approved to undergo PSAR registration.

Mr Ong also expressed hope that the kits would cost below $5 each but said the pricing of kits remains a commercial decision.

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