PCR Testing

Taiwan COVID rapid test kit rationing system goes live April 28

The COVID-19 self-test kit rationing system will kick off Thursday (April 28) as Taiwanese authorities scramble to ensure supplies of the gear amid high demand.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Wednesday (April 27) details of the nationwide home test purchase system in response to complaints about the limited availability of such tools. The country is experiencing a surge in local infections and has rolled out a flurry of new quarantine instructions that require plenty of self-administered screening.

People will be able to buy a pack of five COVID test kits by presenting their National Health Insurance (NHI) card. A kit comes at NT$100 (US$3.40) a unit, much less expensive than what can be purchased on the market. 

Similar to a medical mask distribution scheme rolled out during the early phase of the pandemic, the system dictates that individuals whose ID number ends in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 can acquire a pack on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those whose ID number ends in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 can do so on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Sunday is open to all. The service applies to all who have an NHI card or a resident certificate regardless of age, according to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control. At least 50 million test kits will be offered via the rationing system.

Visit the websites of the National Health Insurance AdministrationTaiwan Food and Drug Administration, or Federation of Taiwan Pharmacists Association for information on pharmacies where such items are available.

Who should get tested for COVID-19 and where

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Local governments across Taiwan have been setting up free COVID-19 testing sites over the past week, as the country endeavors to contain its worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

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How does the testing process work?

All the tests at the COVID-19 stations are the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type, which takes 1-2 days to obtain the results and is Taiwan's main standard for confirming COVID-19 infections.

At some testing sites, such as the virus hotspots in Taipei, rapid tests may also be used, producing results in 10-15 minutes, but they are less accurate than the PCR tests.

If a person tests positive via a rapid test, health authorities will arrange for them to have a PCR test. While awaiting the results, they will be required to quarantine at a government-designated facility, a hospital or at home, depending on the circumstances.

If the health authorities have not contacted a person within three days of their PCR test, it means the results are negative.

According to the CDC, people should bring their personal identification and National Health Insurance (NHI) cards to the testing sites and should wear a face mask at all times.


Where are the COVID-19 testing sites?

Testing sites are already in operation in Taiwan's major cities, including in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Tainan. Over the next few weeks, testing sites will be set up in all 22 municipalities in the country.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has launched an interactive map (in Chinese only) that pinpoints all the testing sites and facilities nationwide, including the new testing sites and hospitals that were already offering that service.

Persons who are unable to locate a testing site near them can contact the CDC via its toll-free 1922 hotline or at 0800-001922 to ask for information.

Those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should avoid using public transport when traveling to the testing sites.




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