Germany to offer free rapid Covid-19 antigen tests to all residents from March 1 – health minister

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that every resident will soon be able to get a quick Covid-19 antigen test free of charge. He added that self-test kits should also be widely available once approved by the regulator.

Spahn said that there is now a “sufficient” number of tests available on the market, making it possible to test everyone in Germany for free. He said the health ministry is in talks with test manufacturers.

The move comes as the government plans to massively expand testing across the country. According to the RND news agency, the free tests will be available at state-run testing sites, as well as in hospitals, pharmacies and dental offices. The government will cover the costs.

Spahn also said that everyone should be able to get coronavirus at-home self-test kits, which are expected to be approved soon by the German regulator.

“These testing options can contribute to a safe everyday life, especially in schools and daycare centers,” Spahn tweeted.

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The antigen tests, however, have been described as being less accurate than the PCR tests. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which tracks Covid-19 infections in Germany, advises people to confirm any positive result from an antigen test by following up with a PCR test.

On Tuesday, the RKI reported Germany’s seven-day incidence rate at 59 cases per 100,000 people.

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