Demand for COVID-19 test kits surges amid infection wave in Singapore

Both Watsons and FairPrice said they are working to ensure supply.

“We continually seek collaborations with partners to promptly address any additional increases in demand. Our focus remains on providing essential support to our communities,” Watsons said.

A spokesperson for FairPrice Group said the company is working with its suppliers to ensure a “continuous and ample supply” of essential items across all its stores.

“We prioritize the well-being of our customers and are dedicated to ensuring they have access to the products they need,” the spokesperson added.

Singapore is experiencing a wave of COVID-19, with cases doubling week-on-week recently.

The estimated number of COVID-19 infections in the week of May 5-11 increased to 25,900, a 90 percent increase compared to 13,700 cases the previous week.

Average daily COVID-19 hospitalizations also rose to around 250 from 181 the previous week, the Health Ministry said Saturday. Average daily cases in intensive care remained low at three cases compared to two cases the previous week, he added.

Currently, two-thirds of Singapore’s cases are caused by the KP.1 and KP.2 virus strains.

The Health Ministry said on May 18 that there is no indication that KP.1 and KP.2 are more transmissible or cause more severe illness than other circulating variants.

While there have been no studies on the effectiveness of current vaccines against newer variants, scientists say vaccination remains the best option, especially against serious diseases.

“We strongly believe that (the vaccine) remains effective in preventing serious diseases such as hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease expert at Singapore’s Rophi Clinic.

He also explained that the COVID-19 test kits are capable of detecting the KP.1 and KP.2 variants.

“The COVID-19 test kit analyzes the N protein. But the mutation of the KP variants is mainly due to the spike protein,” Dr Leong said.

“In fact, the N protein has remained consistently stable with only minor mutations since the beginning.”