“Self-tests are a crucial instrument that contributes to our safety” says the Flemish Pharmacists Network.
Self-tests became available at the beginning of April. They form a third pillar in Belgium’s test strategy in addition to PCR tests and rapid antigen tests. They have the big advantage that professional involvement is kept to a minimum: the test does not need to be administered by a care worker. But self-tests are less reliable and should only be used if you display no symptoms. People with symptoms or who have had a high-risk contact or who are going away should contact a doctor or a test centre.
“With schools and hospitality reopening and other relaxations on the way self-tests are an important element” says the Network’s Hilde Deneyer as they allow the identification of superspreader before they can infect many others.
The office of the corona commissioner is examining self-tests with a view to allowing sales in supermarkets. Pharmacists oppose this move and say sale via a chemist’s ensures professional advice is given. Hilde Deneyer: “I believe tests can do more damage, when they are sold without proper advice.”
During the past month 400,000 self-tests were sold.