COVID19: Test units at most schools to avoid delays

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Mobile rapid test units were at most schools on Tuesday to help solve delays regarding the “test to stay” measures for COVID-19 close contacts.

Following a meeting between the ministers of health and education, teacher unions, and parents, it was announced there would be about 290 mobile units for rapid tests at schools.

Previously, mobile units operated only at a few schools, causing delays as pupils who were close contacts had to travel to other schools for a test.

There are discussions for the extension of the “test to stay” measure also for teachers who are contacts of coronavirus cases.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said pharmacies could join the “test to stay” programme.

He said the pharmacies are ready to help, but there are mobile units in almost all schools, so there is no need for this now.

Some rapid test centres for the general population will start checks earlier in the morning to accommodate school children.

Hadjipantela said that it was important “to see the bigger picture,” which is that more than 5,000 pupils were tested on Monday, which means they went to school while their parents went to work instead of them being forced to stay at home.

He said it was natural for teething problems in the beginning.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou also defended the “test to stay” measure against complaints about delays and other issues, pointing out its effectiveness in allowing thousands of pupils to be physically present in school.

He also said it was very encouraging that the percentage of those who are contacts and turn out to be infected with coronavirus was very low.

Chairman of the Confederation of Primary Education Parents, Frixos Zempylas, pointed out that mobile units will be in all schools in urban areas, but this will not be the case for remote and mountainous areas, and called for action that solutions are found.

Close contacts who are fully vaccinated or were infected do not have to self-isolate but have to take a Rapid test on the third and fifth day.

They are also advised to take a rapid test or a PCR on day seven.