Vietnam exports homemade COVID-19 test kits to Europe

Vietnam has exported its homemade test kits for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to parts of Europe, with more countries having also placed their orders, according to the manufacturers.

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The Vietnam Military Medical University and Viet A Corporation, which manufacture the test kits, said they have shipped 50 kits to Ukraine and 100 others to Finland for registration in the host countries before official exports can begin.

In addition, other countries including Cambodia, Nigeria, Poland, Australia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Ireland have offered to purchase the Vietnam-made test kits.

Authorities in Hanoi also announced they had purchased 4,000 units of the test kit for local use and to send to Italy, the European country hardest hit by COVID-19 so far.

According to the manufacturers, a Vietnam-made COVID-19 test kit includes 50 tests, with each one being used for one person and results becoming available after two hours.

The made-in-Vietnam kit is priced at VND400,000-600,000 (US$17-26) per test.

The producers said they are capable of manufacturing 200 test kits, equal to 10,000 tests, a day.

More than 40 hospitals and centers for disease control in Vietnam have booked their slots for purchasing the test kits, while the kits have already been put into use at some medical units in the central city of Da Nang and the northern province of Bac Giang, as well as labs at Bach Mai Hospital and Hanoi Medical University in Hanoi, the Hue Central Hospital in Thua Thien-Hue Province, and Thai Nguyen National General Hospital in the namesake northern province.

Speaking during an online meeting fighting the disease on Monday, Ho Chi Minh City health director Nguyen Tan Binh said the city had prepared 3,000 test kits ready for mass testing.

According to Binh, the southern metropolis will have 10,000 COVID-19 test kits in stock by the end of this month, and 50,000 by June.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 182,500 people and killed more than 7,100 globally, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 61 cases of coronavirus infections, with 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 26.

Forty-five cases have been reported in the Southeast Asian country since March 6 after Vietnam had gone three weeks without any new infection.