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The Ministry of Health and Wellness Lifts Ban on Home Testing Kits

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has lifted its ban on the importation of home testing kits. But, in order for persons to import these kits, they will need to apply for a permit from the Ministry of Health among other requirements listed in the recent SI. Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard says that the home kits will not be valid for travel or for sickness claims at the Social Security Board.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health & Wellness: “If you come from a long trip, let’s say you go to Playa Del Carmen, you’re spending an Easter weekend and you come back home. You come in and you start to have some form of symptoms. The idea of the home test kits and allowing the importation of home test kits to certain, with certain guidelines because it’s not that everybody will be allowed to bring in home test kits. It has to be properly controlled too. But the idea of an importer having to bring in the home test kits, these should be able to be provided through the pharmacies and so forth. A major supermarket should be able to, once they have a licensed pharmacy within their establishment, should be able to sell these home test kits where they will then be allowed to sell it to individuals for individual use. So if I travel and I come from a trip in Playa Del Carmen and I spent a long weekend there, or a week, a whole week for example, and I am at home and I start to feel sick, you have two options. You go to the hospital to get your proper test. But if you feel that you’re at home and you want to self isolate and you know you’re proper. You’re responsible enough and do the right thing and say you know what, I’m going to do a home test. I’m going to test myself. I test positive. I’ll stay home and do my isolation. However, that doesn’t protect, that doesn’t give you the right in terms of Social Security claims or make it any, who do you call it? Valid result because you have to still go and get your test at a medical facility, at an authorised medical facility in order for you to go and take that to Social Security to claim and so forth so I want to make that absolutely clear. Home test kits won’t apply for that type. It won’t be eligible for travel. So those are the things that remain. Those requirements remain.”

Minister Bernard reiterated that the persons are not allowed to import the kits without the written consent of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health & Wellness: “The SI is clear and let me point to the SI that in order for you to be able to bring in any, any of these things, you need to have a permit by the Ministry of Health. So an individual can’t just come into the country with these test kits. You have to get a permit and the permit has its own criteria that is going to be set out for the need of home test kits and we are developing that right now as we speak because one, we need to be able to continue to monitor the whole issue of COVID within the country so it’s not that we’re opening up certain restrictions, it’s going to be a free-for-all. We also have to put certain restrictions in place and so it has to be monitored. It has to be properly managed and so those who were bringing in those were doing it in, it was illegal to do so and the S.I. continues to state that in order for you to import any of these things you must have a permit. It’s just like you’re bringing in a medication that is not for personal use but for supplies, then you have to be with a permit to be able to bring in these types of things and with a certain quantity but the home test kit, as you know, and I want to ask. I want to point out that while in other countries you’re hearing, oh yes, that they’re giving out a lot of these home test kits have proven and I think the CDC recently sent out a notice that they’re recalling some of these home test kits because they have not been efficient. The efficacy of these test kits are not worth it and so we can’t just allow any test kit to be coming into the country and giving us false results so that is what it has to also be on a controlled basis.”