Saturday, October 16

German supermarket Aldi sells its home tests hours after they go on sale

The budget supermarket made the tests available directly at the checkout, with a customer authorized to purchase a package containing five tests.

Many Aldi stores reported that stocks were out of stock on Saturday morning (March 6), although refills of the tests costing € 25 were reported to be on the way.

Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd announced in advance that the products could be sold out on the first day of sales if demand proved to be very high.

Lidl, another major supermarket chain, began selling the tests through its internet platform also on Saturday, but stocks also appear to be out of stock. A message on the page asks customers to “try again later.”

Competitors Rewe and Edeka also want to start selling the tests in the near future, while drug stores Rossmann and dm plan to start sales on Tuesday, March 9.

On February 24, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices granted the first special approvals for home self-administration tests.

Free quick tests starting next week

On Wednesday (March 3), a coronavirus summit between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 federal and state governments decided that all German residents could receive a free “conventional” rapid test, completed by a medical professional starting in the next week. Pharmacy chain DM has already been accepting registrations for in-store test sites.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: This is Germany’s five-step plan to get out of the shutdown

Health Minister Jens Spahn had originally announced that free quick tests will be available to everyone starting March 1 – but this plan has been slightly modified.

In concrete terms, it means that at least one rapid test per week will now be offered to people in Germany. It will be performed by a trained staff member at surgery or testing centers, for example.

In addition, in accordance with the plans of the federal and state governments, a joint task force will be established to acquire tests quickly and inexpensively.

How easy is it to test yourself at home?

There is a big advantage to the new DIY rapid tests: the sample with the cotton swab can be taken in the anterior nasal region, so it is quite easy to do at home.

Professional rapid tests, on the other hand, collect sample material far back in the nose or deep down the throat, which means a specialist is needed to help.

No additional laboratory equipment is needed for rapid tests. The principle is similar to a pregnancy test: after 15 to 20 minutes, the test strips indicate whether the patient is positive or negative for the coronavirus.

Frankfurt virologist Sandra Ciesek sees few problems with home testing: “I think everyone knows how to do a nasal swab, and if not, there are enough videos to show you how,” she said on NDR’s Coronavirus Update podcast.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new coronavirus home tests in Germany

However, rapid tests are not as reliable as PCR tests that are analyzed in a laboratory. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), if the result of an antigen test is positive, the person should isolate themselves and contact their doctor or local health department to schedule a PCR test.

People are also reminded to continue to observe the rules of distance and hygiene, even if they have a negative rapid test result.

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