Long queues at free COVID-19 rapid testing sites are putting people off, as more Cypriots opt to pay for a test at their neighbourhood pharmacy for under €20.
With the lifting of the lockdown on 10 May and introducing the new Safe Pass system, people now need a negative rapid test, or proof of immunity if not vaccinated against the virus, to go about their daily lives.
Visiting gyms, church, restaurants, cafes, and shops requires a safe pass.
“Since the beginning of the week and with the introduction of the Safe Pass, we have seen increased demand for rapid testing at private pharmacies“, said the president of the Pancyprian Pharmaceutical Association, Eleni Piera.
Pharmacists reported a sharp increase in demand despite the fact, as Piera said, “our members have been offering this service for about two months now”.
Although the ceiling is at €20, prices range between €10-15, while some pharmacies provide the test at prices below €10, said Piera.
Following an agreement reached with the Ministry of Health, pharmacists can provide the necessary certificate of a negative result; positive results are reported to authorities, based on the procedure followed by private labs.
The Safe Pass is the government’s latest way to ascertain proof of immunity for individuals who wish to visit places where people congregate, such as restaurants and shopping malls.
Pharmacies have been handed a list of approved rapid testing kits, from which they are not allowed to deviate.