Free coronavirus self-tests for Greeks after Pharmacist Union impasse

Free coronavirus self-tests for Greeks after Pharmacist Union impasse 1

Greece’s Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis announced that free coronavirus self-tests will be made available through supermarkets in Achaia Region, where a pharmacists union refuses to continue providing them, and the same will happen with Attica if pharmacists there insist on discontinuing the distribution.

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Kontozamanis made the announcement during Wednesday’s regular briefing on the pandemic and clarified that only associations of pharmacists in these two regions refuse to continue providing free self-tests,  forcing health authorities to look into other means of providing these to people who are required to use them.

He also expressed confidence that most pharmacists in the country will continue to provide self-tests, citing a meeting held the same day between health ministry officials and representatives of national unions of pharmacists and pharmaceuticals distributors.

The government has requested the free distribution continue for the next 2-3 months. Until Wednesday, some 10,349 pharmacies across the country had given out a total of 29,936,721 self-tests, in a distribution program that was launched two months ago.

Meanwhile, dispersal of the coronavirus in Greece continues to decline, said children’s infectious diseases specialist and Health Ministry coronavirus committee member Vana Papaevangelou at the briefing. Active infections have dropped by 40 pct, and 35 is still the median age of new infections, she noted. Doctor Gkikas Magiorkinis, also a committee member, said at the briefing that the number of patients in ICUs has dropped by 15 percent, while new Covid-19 admissions in hospitals have dropped to fewer than 100 per day, he underlined.

Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said workers in the tourism industry who have yet to be vaccinated will be required to self-test twice weekly. The state will pay for the first test and the employer for the second.

Regarding the entry of tourists to Greece, Hardalias said that accompanied children under the age of 12 who arrive from countries in the so-called Covid-19 “Green List” of countries will not have to provide authorities with a negative coronavirus test.

Children up to the age of 6 who arrive from countries in “Amber” and “Red” lists will not have to either, he added. All adults coming to Greece from “Green” countries will only have to provide a negative Covid-19 rapid test, highlighted Hardalias. The minister also announced that amusement parks can reopen on June 19, with health restrictions in place.

As of June 19, wellness services can resume too, as they are interconnected with tourism; this resumption of operation will include therapeutic baths and thermal springs. All-year-round cinemas can also reopen on July 1 at 50 pct capacity maximum. Inoculated people with a vaccination certificate can exercise at gyms without a mask, it was finally noted.