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Concern over shops running out of ART test kits

Rokiah Mahmud

In looking at the increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases recorded during the past weeks, the public aired concern and worries in obtaining the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Kit stocks as supplies have depleted in most shops.

The Bulletin interviewed individuals and distributors supplying the ART Kit.

Hajah Zulidah binti Tuah’s search for ART test kits to several convenience shops ended in disappointment as the kits were mostly out of stock.

She said the ART kit was needed for members of her association who will be involved in the National Day celebration this year.

“We need to conduct ART prior to the rehearsal and show our results to the respective agencies,”

Hajah Zulidah who works at the Gadong Fish Market takes an ART test once a week as required.

Hajah Kamsiah binti Haji Saidin, 40, was also left in dissapointment as most shops in Kampong Mentiri ran out of the ART kits.

The Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Kit. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“Some stores do sell the ART Kit, but at a higher price.

“This comes to me as a surprise as the price has been affordable. Before this, the price of the regular brand that I usually bought was less than BND3, but with people buying the ART Kit in large volumes, shops tend to increase the price with some selling it for more than BND4,”

“This matter is supposedly being monitored and shops should not increase the prices overnight. Shops obtain their supplies from distributors who sell at wholesale price and therefore, should sell it at a reasonable price.

“If shop owners are concerned about those buying in bulks, they could always limit the number of kits being purchased by each customer.

A mother of three, Zaharah Haji Ali told the Bulletin that she buys the ART Kit on a weekly basis as her children are currently undergoing face-to-face learning at school.

“We appreciate that schools are conducting ART tests for students however, as parents, it is my obligation to ensure my children’s safety.

“As a parent, I am at peace if we are able to test our children at home.

Meanwhile, Manager of D’Season SF Enterprise, a subsidiary company of R&T, Kiulap, Joyce told the Bulletin that following the increase in demand for ART Kits, the company will place bulk orders on a monthly basis estimating the quantity according to turnover of sales.

“We are also placing small batches of urgent orders every week due to overwhelming demands observed especially during the past month.

“The allocation of stocks is necessary and some orders are partially fulfilled to accommodate as many people as possible so that the community will have a fair share of test kits required,”

“Usually, it will take around three to four weeks to resupply the ART kit stocks, but we managed to get a small batch of the ART kits in a week depending on flights availability,”

“In terms of pricing, there’s bulk discount for those wanting to purchase in large volumes, especially corporate agencies as well as private companies, schools, and departmental stores.

“For loose purchase it is usually offered at an affordable price. But the prices are updated regularly subjective to urgency and variable cost prices due to inconsistent shipping costs”.

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