POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Pharmacies prep for rapid test service



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As countries are starting to accept certified rapid antigen tests as entry documents, pharmacies could play a more important role. Library photo: Maison Moderne 

Pharmacies in Luxembourg are gearing up to administer certified rapid antigen tests for people wanting to dine indoors starting 16 May. 

The Luxembourg pharmacies syndicate (SPL) is in the process of putting together a list of pharmacies that will offer the rapid antigen tests, as they are not obliged to offer this service.

The list should become available online on the syndicate’s website but also the covid19.lu and health ministry platforms ahead of the change in laws, which was announced by prime minister Xavier Bettel on 5 May.

Since the rapid antigen tests require a waiting time of 15 to 20 minutes, some pharmacies will struggle to accommodate people and are looking at setting up tents outside their premises to avoid overcrowding, especially given rules limiting the number of people that can be inside a shop at any one time.

Testing will cost between €30 to €35, estimates Danielle Becker-Bauer, the vice president of the syndicate, which represents 98 pharmacies in the country.

People receive a certificate with their test result, signed and stamped. This will be valid for 24 hours, but the SPL has already requested for the validity to be extended to 48 hours, as is the case in Austria.

Some countries, such as Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, accept a certified rapid antigen test result as a travel document for entry. “Pharmacies could have an important role to play,” says Becker-Bauer.

Restaurants themselves will be able to offer rapid self-tests on site although questions remain how they will manage the time for results to come in, for example setting up waiting areas outside. They can also choose not to offer rapid tests should this be too much of an inconvenience to organise.

This leaves the option of obtaining a PCR test, which costs around €60 at a private laboratory, or is free under the large-scale testing scheme for anyone receiving an invite.

This story was first published on Paperjam and has been translated and edited for Delano.