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Greek minister causes row with Cyprus claiming cheap PCR tests there “Chinese” and of “very low reliability”

Greece has caused a row with Cyprus after a Minister and ruling New Democracy party Vice claimed that the cheap PCR tests used in Cyprus were “Chinese” and of “very low reliability.” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis was trying to argue in favor of expensive PCR tests in Greece and in his usual habit he maid claims out of his belly when he was confronted with the question as to why PCR tests in Cyprus cost half the price in Greece.

Georgiadis’ claims not triggered an outrage among Cypriot politicians who forced the talkative Greek minister to withdraw his original statement. He claimed again that he never made such a statement, although everybody heard it on state broadcaster ERT Radio on Wednesday and was multiply commented on social media as well.

What Georgiadis had reportedly said in order to justify a price cap at 47 euros from 60 until Jan 6 was :

“Yesterday [Greek health Minister] Plevris spoke with his Cypriot counterpart and the price they gave us was 20-50 euros. There is one price at 20 euros in Cyprus by one company and as our own doctors and the Greek Medical Association said at a meeting we had, they brought us the papers that they [the PCR tests] are of very low reliability, Chinese, not similar to those sold here.”

His statements on “Chinese” and “low reliability” PCR tests were widely covered by media on Cyprus and made it also to international media like euractiv.com that noted among others that Georgiadis statement on PCR tests in Cyprus caused an outrage with several Cypriot politicians calling on the Greek minister to take his “offensive” statement back.

The first reaction came from Cyprus’ General Auditor Odysseas Michailidis, who said the constant competition in the public tenders dropped the prices of PCR tests in Cyprus.

Minister of Health of Cyprus Michalis Hadjipandela said all consumables used in Cyprus for testing for COVID-19 meet the strictest standards set by the ECDC, are licensed in Europe and are used in most European countries.

“Cyprus is one of the leading countries in terms of health crisis management, as synergies and collaborations were made between the public and private sectors to ensure the required resources and expertise, to provide reliable molecular control for COVID-19 disease to citizens,” he added.

The Greek minister was forced to withdraw, issuing a statement saying he never questioned the reliability of Cyprus’ PCR tests.

“Let’s make it clear: PCRs in Cyprus are reliable,” Georgiadis posted on Twitter on Thursday. “At no time did I make any reference to the quality of laboratory tests of Cyprus, which is proved by the successful handling of the pandemic,” he added.

He noted that the price cap for PCR tests on Cyprus was 50 euros but that “the conditions in the market are different”.
The minister was clarifying a statement he made on Wednesday on an ERT radio programme regarding the lower-priced PCR tests available in Cyprus, where PCR tests start at 20 euros, instead of the maximum cap of 47 euros placed on tests in Greece, noted Greek state-run news agency amna.

The issue of PCR tests in Greece has caused a heated political debate as it seems that Greeks are the only EU citizens who, in practice, are obliged to pay for molecular tests, according to a survey conducted by EURACTIV. While in other countries, EU citizens who show COVID symptoms or get a doctor’s prescription can take a PCR test for free, in Greece, citizens must pay, euractive noted.

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  1. Can anybody tell me where I can find the Public Tender records for medical supplies; test kits, masks, etc.?
    would be interesting to know if there were any “connections” in the supply chains.

  2. Often in Greece the only “connection” is a highly anonymous “fakalaki” and that is notoriously difficult to trace.