ATHENS – Before he reportedly withdrew the claim, Greek Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis’ assertion that free COVID-19 molecular tests on Cyprus from China were unreliable drew an immediate backlash from the government.
Greece is the only European Union country that doesn’t cover the cost of the so-called PCR tests required in some cases and Georgiadis first said Cyprus was using “Chinese” tests he said had “very low reliability” because they’re cheap.
While in other countries, EU citizens who show COVID symptoms or get a doctor’s prescription can take a PCR test for free, in Greece they are not, said the site EURACTIV, which conducted a survey.
Greece’s New Democracy government, under fire from the major rival SYRIZA which called for free PCR tests, lowered the maximum price charged by clinics from 60 euros ($68) to 47 euros ($53) but critics said that wasn’t enough.
On Cyprus, the tests cost 20-25 euros ($23-$28) for the government, leading Georgiadis to make his claims on Greek public TV that they weren’t accurate enough in detecting the Coronavirus.
With Greece and Cyprus natural allies and both having Conservative governments, the statement caused a flap before Georgiadis took back what he said although it wasn’t said why.
Cyprus’ General Auditor Odysseas Michailidis said the constant competition in the public tenders dropped the prices of PCR tests in Cyprus, the site reported about the backlash.
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandela said all consumables used in Cyprus for testing for COVID-19 meet the strictest standards set by the European Union health authorities and are used in most European countries.
“Cyprus is one of the leading countries in terms of health crisis management, as synergies and collaborations were made between the public and private sectors to ensure the required resources and expertise, to provide reliable molecular control for COVID-19 disease to citizens,” he also added.