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Bermuda not affected by overseas shortage of antigen Covid tests

A rapid antigen Covid-19 test (File photograph)

The global surge of Omicron cases has sparked a shortage of antigen tests overseas, but Bermuda has not been affected.

Stricter regulations aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 in the UK, combined with the holiday season has caused a run on testing supplies.

But a spokeswoman for the Phoenix Stores said their stock of rapid antigen tests had not been impacted by shortages overseas.

She said: “We have a good supply of units on-hand and a shipment arriving shortly.

“Similarly, our vendor is not currently affected by the shortages seen in other parts of the world.”

People’s Pharmacy has also said they have a “healthy supply” of tests and more on hold with vendors to ship to the island if needed.

A spokeswoman added: “We also have a very large stock, currently held by government and we are doing everything in our power to get those released so that we are best able to help the community get a handle on knowing their status, and protecting vulnerable populations.”

A spokeswoman for Northshore Medical – which offers antigen travel testing – said that while they have seen a surge in demand because of Omicron, they had not had any shortfall in supplies.

She added: “Our teams do great job sourcing and shipping on time, we just got new supplies as well.”

The BBC has reported that the shortage has also affected healthcare workers, who are required to take lateral flow tests for ten days after contact with a Covid-19 case – in addition to a PCR test – in order to return to work.

Leyla Hannbeck, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Pharmacies are reporting that every five minutes, approximately, somebody comes into the pharmacy asking for a test.

“But, unfortunately, because of the issues around supply being patchy and inconsistent, it means that those who come for the test don’t always get it, which is very stressful; not just for the pharmacy team, but for the patient.”

Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, said it was believed they would need to "constrain the system at certain points" to manage the surging demand.

However, he told MPs tests would triple to 300 million a month early next year.

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Published January 04, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated January 04, 2022 at 7:46 am)

Bermuda not affected by overseas shortage of antigen Covid tests

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