The free federal Covid-19 testing program allows 4 tests to be sent per household and sent 7-12 days after application - Market News
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The free federal Covid-19 testing program allows 4 tests to be sent per household and sent 7-12 days after application

The free federal Covid-19 testing program allows 4 tests to be sent per household and sent 7-12 days after application

Speaking about the test procurement process, a senior government official said: “The administration is rapidly completing a contract process for this unprecedented purchase of 500 million rapid home tests, with more than 420 million tests already under contract. All pathways interactive through this program will be rapid home tests provided by the FDA have been approved for emergency use, and half a billion tests will be available for order on Jan. 19.

The official noted that there are “a number of tests already in the possession of the US government, on the order of 10 million.”

Although the official said the administration will also launch a toll-free calling line for the tests, no launch date was given.

Pressured by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins as to whether the US government had already secured the half-billion-dollar tests initially promised, the official noted that “we are working to finalize the contract for the final 80 million, and this is an unprecedentedly large purchase”, adding that “it is moving at a high speed.”

The total cost for the first 500 million tests, the official said, is about “$4 billion” for purchase and distribution.

“We’re confident that with our contract team, which is very fast, with the (tests) we have on hand and the timeline we’re laying out today, we can… get all of our timelines and send them to Americans who want them.” ‘ said the official.

Later Friday, the Defense Department announced three major contracts totaling nearly $2 billion for Covid-19 test kits, as part of the Biden administration’s effort to make the scarce kits more readily available to the public.

iHealth Labs Inc., based in Sunnyvale, California, has been awarded a $1.275 billion contract for Covid-19 rapid antigen testing. Roche Diagnostics Corp., based in Indianapolis, was awarded a $340 million contract and Abbott Rapid Dx North America LLC, based in Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $306 million contract.

The announcement did not include information on how many test kits the contracts will purchase, but the contracts all have an estimated completion date of March 14, 2022.

So far, the limit of four free Covid-19 tests per household is something that will only be implemented for the first 500 million rapid tests Americans can request by mail, another official said on Friday’s call. Overall, the Biden administration has promised: to acquire 1 billion quick tests — 500 million initially for free mailing to Americans, and recently announced another 500 million to meet future demand.

CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.