Greece began a program of free distribution of Covid-19 antigen self-tests by pharmacies — exclusively to high school students aged 16-18 and teachers — on Thursday.
The test is given upon presentation of a valid AMKA social security number and, together with the self test kit, recipients are given written instructions on the correct taking of the sample.
The registration of self tests per AMKA is done in real time to avoid the phenomenon of multiple tests being handed out by different pharmacies to the same person.
Self tests are rapidly detectable nasal-swab tests (using a nasal instead of nasopharyngeal / oral pharyngeal sample), performed at home and do not require the supervision of a health professional.
Self tests designed for healthy individuals
Authorities clarified that the individual self tests are designed for healthy and asymptomatic individuals.
For those with symptoms of infection, i.e., a fever, cough or other symptoms, a negative test must always also be confirmed by performing a molecular test.
This means that self-tests must be carried out even if there are no symptoms of COVID-19, since one in three carriers of the virus is asymptomatic.
Schoolchildren must carry out the self tests 24 to 48 hours before lessons begin and the results (whether positive or negative) must be declared on the platform self-testing.gov.gr, the operation of which started on Wednesday.
Vaccinations in Greece exceed two million
Vaccinations against Covid-19 in Greece, including both first and second doses, exceeded the two million mark on Wednesday, a government spokesperson said during a regular press briefing on Thursday.
The government also estimates that health authorities will complete 1.5 million vaccinations in April.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed to older Greek citizens to become vaccinated against the coronavirus as the government presses forward with its vaccination program.
“I call on the aged, I plead with them: Get vaccinated as soon as possible; vaccines are a protection, there are vaccines and appointments available, it is a fundamental act of self-protection,” he said in an interview on Star TV.
“At some point, from September on, the government will review the idea of making vaccination of medical staff obligatory,” he revealed. “I do not want to create pockets of confrontation, we will see about it as of September,” the Prime Minister added.