Germany seeks way out of lockdown via home Covid tests

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Germany approved today three Covid-19 tests for home use as part of a strategy to seek way out of lockdown that has been in place since mid-December, news wires reported. The country’s leaders will meet next week to consider change of lockdown rules that run to 7 March.

The government expects such tests will cost it up to 810 million euro a month for 30 million to 45 million tests, according to documents obtained by Reuters. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, on Wednesday approved antigen tests made by Healgen Scientific, Xiamen Boson Biotech and Hangzhou Laihe Biotech for use by people who are not medical professionals, according to its website.

The infection rate in Germany fell steadily in the first weeks of the year but has stagnated in recent days, making it more difficult for leaders to ease restrictions, Reuters commented. Chancellor Angela Merkel has told lawmakers in her conservative party that making rapid tests more available and boosting testing capacity could make a return to normality more durable.

Other countries are also betting on home tests to help limit the spread of the virus. In Austria, self-tests are already being used in schools, and they will be available to the public for free at pharmacies from next week. In England, volunteers and police have handed out Covid-19 testing kits to try to halt the spread of a highly infectious variant that originated in South Africa.

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