To ensure the continuous supply of affordable antigen rapid test (ART) kits, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) will start selling the item online through a government-linked company and private clinics.
The ART kit will be priced at BND3 per set. A delivery fee will also be charged, with the item to arrive within three days of purchase.
Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah announced this at a press conference yesterday.
“The government is also preparing to enable ART kits to be sold through vending machines placed at strategic locations and operated by an appointed private company. They will be sold at a government-set price,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said.
The minister had earlier pointed out the price hike in the market was due to supply and demand factors. It was also partly driven by changes to government policy, such as in Brunei Darussalam which has, since February 15, started using ART kits to confirm if an individual is COVID-positive.
“The start date of the sale will, Insya Allah, be announced as soon as logistical preparations are completed,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said.
The public is advised to avoid bulk buying, instead purchasing a smaller amount for personal use or just enough to serve a family.
“Public cooperation and patience are sought while waiting for the delivery to be made,” he said.
Once the ART kits are available in the near future, low-income families receiving monthly welfare assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) through the National Welfare System, can apply for them through the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and MUIB.
Each family member will receive 10 ART kits without charge, for use over a three-month period. Village heads, JAPEM officials and government-appointed agents will assist with the distribution.
The public can still purchase ART kits currently available on the market, and business owners are advised not to arbitrarily raise the selling price.
“The MoFE, through the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES), will monitor the ART kit market pricing periodically,” he said.
To ensure the quality of ART kits meet the set standards, their importation and supply must be in line with the MoH-approved list. The list of ART kits allowed for sale in Brunei Darussalam can be obtained at www.moh.gov.bn.
In responding to a query, the minister said no limits will be set on the number of ART kits that can be purchased through the vending machine, and that the delivery charge rate will be set by the delivery company dropping off the online-purchased kits.