Perth fans of US discount giant Costco rushed to buy rapid antigen tests in 20-packs priced at around $140.
RAT kits only became legal in WA on Monday after the state government lifted a ban on rapid-acting tests.
Demand for testing has exploded in eastern states as the Omicron wave sweeps through the country’s most populous cities, namely Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Posting pictures of their loot on social media, WA shoppers revealed that test stock had been removed hours after the bulk shop opened, despite consumers being limited to one. only one pack per membership.
Adjacent to DFO near Perth Airport, the members-only warehouse opened to much fanfare amid Perth’s initial and longest lockdown in early 2020.
Ahead of the ban being lifted earlier this week, WA’s Pharmacy Guild warned there would not be enough rapid antigen tests in the state – estimating it would be weeks before residents could find in pharmacies or supermarket shelves.
Guild director Matt Tweedie said RATs would play an important role in helping to detect and slow community transmission when the border opens on February 5.
The chronic shortage of RATs has been exacerbated by increased exposure to COVID in Australia, RAT testing requirements, low domestic stocks, only overseas manufacturing capacity and international demand.
The bulk of the 18 RATs approved for use in Australia by the Theraputic Goods Administration are made in China.
Coles, Woolies, and some chemists all introduced a one-pack limit for RATs.
Coles chief executive Steven Cain told The Australian this week that the supermarket giant “delivers millions” of RAT tests to stores each week, but admitted that was not enough to meet demand.
“We have ordered more from our suppliers, but although demand remains at current levels, we expect it will be a few weeks before there are enough tests for every customer who wants to buy them,” he said. declared.
Costco Australia was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.