Individual self-tests for the coronavirus will be one of the major tools used in the effort under way for a resumption of social and economic activities, according to health officials during their regular weekly briefing on Friday on the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
More specifically, the test will be mandatory for employees in retail, business, catering, tourism and courts, as well as for teachers and students.
The free distribution of the test kits will start from pharmacies at the beginning of April and for a period of two months.
Priority is expected to be given to people up to 67 years old, generally society’s most active members.
Meanwhile, experts are expected to give their suggestions midweek regarding the strategy governing the gradual reopening of activities.
Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis said the use of the self-diagnostic test will not be mandatory for all other activities, and stressed that positive results must be declared on the selftesting.gov.gr platform which will soon be accessible and will include all the relevant useful information.
Kontozamanis stressed that the self-test is a complementary action for the timely detection of asymptomatic carriers of the virus who had no reason to be examined.
He noted that self-diagnostic tests are already available in the European Union and meet the same strict specifications as the rapid tests, which derive from the European Union legislation.
He added that self-diagnostic tests are mainly nasal tests or saliva tests, which are much easier to use, with simple instructions and specially designed so that everyone can use them effectively on their own.
Meanwhile the pressure on the National Health System continued on Friday with the number of intubated patients in intensive care units rising to an all-time high of 707, one more than Thursday.
Their median age was 68, while 82.5% have an underlying disease and/or are aged over 70. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,648 patients have been discharged from ICUs.
Also on Friday, 1,496 infections were confirmed but authorities said that significantly fewer tests were conducted. The death toll was 53, with the total since the outbreak of the pandemic reaching 7,754.