250K test kits head up food chain

250K test kits head up food chain

The Public Health Ministry will give out 250,000 antigen test kits (ATKs) to food-related businesses, food stalls and restaurants nationwide to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Department of Health director-general, Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, said the department received the ATKs from the National Health Security Office (NHSO) for that purpose.

It will allocate 157,452 kits for fresh markets, 68,596 for restaurants, 18,876 for food stalls with the remaining 5,076 going to food delivery service providers.

He advised those who receive them to check for Covid-19 every week.

Dr Suwannachai also recommended fresh market operators stock ATKs. If the markets are located in dark red zones in 29 provinces including Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi, about 10% of staff should be randomly tested weekly. He said they should start with staff who live in densely populated communities or have had close contact with Covid-19 patients.

Restaurant operators need to randomly test staff, whether they work out front or in the kitchen every seven days. Priority should go to unvaccinated staff, those who have had close contact with Covid-19 patients or visited markets or wholesalers that have reported positive cases.

Dr Suwannachai said ATKs will be distributed to food stall owners doing business in high-risk areas.

For food delivery services, the ministry will initially provide ATKs to delivery people not yet vaccinated and work in metropolitan Bangkok, including Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan.

Food business operators need to strictly follow universal prevention measures, such as social distancing at their places of business.

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