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U-turn on Covid testing in pharmacies: Health minister 'open to discussion'
19 November 2020 @ 17:31

SPAIN'S health minister has relented in his refusal to consider testing for Covid-19 in high-street pharmacies, and is now open to considering doing to – especially after the European Union recommended mass antigen testing and training staff to be able to perform them.

Although a PCR test is the 'gold star', according to Brussels, an antigen test is much quicker and can detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the organism within 10 to 15 minutes, is highly effective and could be extremely useful in the event of outbreaks in 'cluster' organisations such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and care homes where a handful of people are known positives and all others have to be checked to ensure they are clear before they can come out of quarantine.

A petition on started by a pharmaceutical worker says Spain has around 22,000 high-street chemists', typically several in every town and with opening hours that cover a 12-hour period at least, whilst not every town even has a GP surgery and the larger municipalities, which do, may only have one or two in total, sometimes only open until lunchtime.

This means pharmacies have the time and resources to carry out mass tests without encroaching on valuable health service hours, which are stretched at present due to dealing with the Covid crisis on top of the public's usual medical issues – and the pending 'flu season.



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