HCM CITY – With rising prices and signs of shortage emerging, health officials have advised HCM City residents not to use more COVID-19 test kits than needed.
The city has seen a spike in COVID cases after Tết (Lunar New Year), with people opting to travelling during the holiday; and most students returning to school after a long hiatus. This, in turn, has driven demand for COVID test services at medical facilities and test kits for self-testing at home.
Before the spike in cases, the price of a rapid test kit was VNĐ80,000 to VNĐ100,000 (US$3.5 – 4.39) depending on the brand, but now, they have risen by up to VNĐ50,000 per kit.
Some locals are having problems buying the kits even at higher prices because the pharmacies are running out of stock, even though they were abundant just less than a month ago.
Nguyễn Thị Trang, a Gò Vấp District resident, told Tin Tức newspaper: “While prices of test kits at pharmacies around me have risen, I once had to travel to a fourth one before being able to buy them. The first three had run out of the test kits.
“Although prices are high, I had to buy the kits for my family since we all had contracted the virus and needed to test.”
Hà Thị Thảo, who works at a pharmacy in Thủ Đức City, said that recently, test kit distributors have been raising product prices, and sometimes, they have no supplies left.
More and more locals are buying the test kits, with some buying them in large quantities to stock up for their families, she said.
HCM City has instructed relevant authorities to carry out unannounced inspections at businesses selling the test kits, looking out for violations including speculation and selling low quality products. They have also been asked to monitor test kit production, import and sales.
Trần Đắc Phu, former head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said locals should only take a test if they have clear COVID symptoms like coughing or fever.
Even if they’d come into direct contact with a COVID-19 patient, they should wait for around two days to test themselves, since the virus can take a few days to manifest.
COVID-19 patients should not test themselves every day, and families should not stock up on test kits since it creates shortages, he said. – VNS
COVID hospitals closed down
HCM CITY – HCM City has closed down two COVID hospitals and two quarantine centres last week, since despite the city’s rising caseload, the number of critical patients and death cases is still low.
The hospitals and quarantine centres were based in hospitals and rehabilitation centres around the city, which can now resume their focus on their original duties.
HCM City has been temporarily closing down COVID field hospitals, while still maintaining enough hospitals to admit and treat COVID patients, and ensuring that the city has around 1,000 intensive care unit beds for them.
Fields hospitals that were temporarily closed down may be asked to reopen within 24 hours if need be. VNS