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Greece runs out of mandatory self-tests for students, just hours before schools reopen

Student’s parents and pharmacist have been complaining since early Saturday morning that there are no more self-tests available even though they are mandatory for students before they go to school again on Monday, January 10, after the Christmas holidays.

According to a recent government decision, the self-tests for students and teachers are mandatory and are being distributed free of charge by the government via the pharmacies.

When they announced the reopening of schools on Jan 10, the Education and Health ministers praised the self-testing in schools as one of the tools to contain the spread of the Omicron and the Delta variants of Covid-19 now that daily infections range between 35,000-45,000 but there is no political will for online education or delay of reopening the schools for a week or longer.

Saturday morning, many parents were left without the kits as the pharmacies had run out of those free of charge but also of kits for sale.

Pharmacists obtain by state authorities the free kits and citizens receive them with the social security number of the pupil. Each pupil and teacher is eligible for 5 self-tests for the first week of schools reopening.

The Pharmacists Association in Thessaloniki issued a statement on Saturday saying pharmacies have run out of the free self-tests.

Speaking to Skai FM, the president of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association, Apostolos Valtas, confirmed the shortages adding that a total of 8.5 million self-tests has already been distributed from the central distribution point and that the problem is located in their distribution from the warehouse drugstores to the pharmacies.

Warehouses tell the pharmacies that they have run out of self-tests, Valtas stressed.

According to government sources, necessary measures were taken to supply the pharmacies from the warehouses but also from the stock of the Civil Protection authority in order to cover any shortages.

However, warehouses are closed over the weekends and so is the majority of pharmacies on Sundays with the exception of those on emergency duty.

The government sources added that a total of 6 million self-tests were obtained by a 1,287,000 eligible citizens adding that 3 out of 4 eligible students and teachers have received the 5 free self-tests.

The shortages were noted late Friday evening and Saturday morning.

The sources added that the pharmacies are open until 5-6 p.m. on Saturday and continue the distribution of the free self-tests, reassuring that there is enough stock to cover the need of all eligible citizens.

Note that the free distribution started three days ago, on January 6, a holiday across the country.

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, Health Minister Thanos Plevris blamed the holidays on Jan 1 and 6 for the problem and reassured that the problem will be solved by Monday.

Τhe first self-test should be carried out by vaccinated, unvaccinated and Covid-recovered students and teachers on Sunday and the result should be registered on the relevant government website.

“No student or teacher will be allowed to school without a test,” ERT reported.

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  1. When will they bring in the environmental tax for all these plastic Tests and our masks? Who is recycling all this stuff.

    Thankfully we got rid of straws and plastic coffee cups LOL

  2. The used test items cannot (should not) be recycled. This is potentially hazardous medical waste and should be disposed of in dedicated containers for incineration, as should used masks.
    .Gov advice some time ago was to tie the bits in a plastic bag and put it in the normal house rubbish which goes to land-fill.
    This raises the question of whether animals, rooting through rubbish, can become infected from contaminated test kits.
    Cats, pole-cats, mice & rats and dogs are all susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.
    A nice feral animal reservoir could be building, which could easily spread to domestic pets.