Germany recently approved self-administered coronavirus tests to be sold on the high street, including in supermarkets.
The first batch of DIY tests sold out in record time after being stocked in chain Aldi for the first time on Saturday March 6th. Each customer was allowed to buy one pack with five tests for €25. In some Aldi stores, tests flew off the shelves within 15 minutes.
At the discounter supermarket Lidl, the website temporarily collapsed due to the high demand for tests. Now the tests can only be ordered again “soon”.
New supplies of the product are yet to arrive in stores. Instead, some people are trying to re-sell their test kits from supermarkets on Ebay at much higher prices – although the platform rigorously takes action against this, reported Spiegel.
Now other shops are planning to get their hands on stocks.
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What are the tests for?
The hype surrounding the amateur tests is not surprising. After all, the nasal mucus test for home use raises hopes of a little more freedom.
Instead of going out the door with an uneasy feeling, people in Germany can now theoretically test themselves before visiting relatives, meeting friends for coffee or working in the office instead of at home.
However, the self-tests do not give absolute certainty that someone does not have coronavirus – but they do give a snapshot and show that at that moment the person taking the test is unlikely to be contagious.
These tests are primarily aimed at allowing people to make an informed decision before they visit relatives and friends, although Germany still has strict contact restrictions in place.
The usual distance, hand-washing and mask rules should still be observed after the self-test, and the test results only provide the protection for 24 hours.
These self-tests are different to the rapid tests, although they are both antigen-based. The rapid tests are carried out by a professional. Every person in Germany can now receive one free rapid test a week at a test centre or pharmacy.
Neither antigen test is as accurate as a PCR test. Particularly, if you have just become infected, the antigen test might not come back positive.
The federal government recommends that anyone who gets a positive self-test should contact their doctor or health authority and confirm with a PCR test. Some states also say this is compulsory.
If you get a positive rapid test, it has to be confirmed with a PCR test.
In both cases, anyone who gets a positive Covid test should self-isolate.
Where can you buy self-tests in Germany?
Drugstore Rossmann plans to offer tests in all of its 2,200 stores in Germany and online “in the course of this week”. Due to the high demand, the distribution will be limited to four packs per household.
DM also expects to offer home-test kits some time this week.
Lidl has announced that it will sell self-tests in its supermarkets as well as online, but there’s no exact date for when that will happen. Edeka also plans to offer tests soon.
Aldi is planning a re-stock of their DIY Covid test kits. The company already announced it will limit the quantity available to buy to one test kit per customer.
Starting next week, Rewe and Penny are also planning to sell the tests.
Discount chain Netto has not given a timeline on when they will stock at-home Covid test kits.