GR US

COVID-19 Self-Test Kit Distribution Expanded to Greek Workers

Ευρωκίνηση

Pharmacist displays rapid antigen COVID-19 self-testing kits at her drugstore in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS - Free self-test kits for COVID-19 distributed to Greek students, teachers and high schools staff will now be made available to workers, with some 900,000 kits being sent to pharmacies.

“I feel that we are very close to freedom… Vaccinations and self-tests are our biggest weapons,” Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis told Open TV about the distribution plan and hopes that the pandemic will start being beaten back.

“It is very important that thanks to this new tool, we are in a position so that asymptomatic fellow-citizens and children, that is citizens who could not be checked under different circumstances, are already in self-isolation and not contributing to the spread of the virus,” he said.

He noted that self-testing for schools found only about 600 tested positive from tens of thousands of results although it wasn’t said how those were monitored for accuracy and how self-tests compare to those given by health professionals.

He said that after high schools, self-testing will be expanded to other areas. “We are talking about categories of workers in the private and public sector, like in retail commerce, justice, open-air dining and banking transactions,” he said.

He didn’t say how that would be organized, noted Kathimerini, nor how many there would be as there are some 10.7 million people in Greece.

Self-testing kits are being distributed free of charge by pharmacies to specific groups of people under a system organized by the self-testing.gov.gr platform, where citizens must report any negative results - on their own. Only people who belong to the approved category are entitled to up to two kits a week.

The self test a very important tool

Government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni on Tuesday said that over 420,000 free self-tests for Covid-19 were distributed on the first day of in-person classes at the country's lyceums (last three grades of highschool). This indicated a huge response from the education community and was satisfactory, Peloni said.

"The asymptomatic pupils and teachers could have transmitted the virus to the school community and to their families, so this shows that this is a measure that helps to better track down the asymptomatic vectors, something that will reduce the spread of the virus," she said.

Peloni added that the vaccination appointment platform for teachers and citizens aged between 55 and 59 will open on Wednesday, April 21, will that for those aged 50-54 opens on Saturday, April 24.

"The total population in the above categories is 2.2 million people and with those the first big immunity wall will be built. Currently we have a vaccination rate of 55,000 every day and, depending on vaccine flow, this may increase," Peloni explained.

"I estimate that the platform for the vaccination of citizen aged 40-plus will open in June," she added.