Travellers can also get tested at Belgian pharmacies from Monday
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Travellers can also get tested at Belgian pharmacies from Monday

Credit: Belga

From Monday, people, such as festivalgoers and travellers, will be able to have a rapid antigen test carried out in more than 1,000 pharmacies in Belgium.

The higher capacity has to ease the workload of the testing centres, general practitioners and laboratories, according to the General Pharmaceutical Association (APB).

“If each of the at least 1,000 participating pharmacists takes 10 tests a day, we increase the total testing capacity by no less than 10,000 a day,” said chair of the APB, Koen Straetmans.

“This rapid testing is a logical continuation of the informative, sensitising and orientation task of the pharmacist,” he added.

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The pharmacists who offer the rapid antigen test – which, like a PCR test, requires a deep nasal swab – have received special training for this.

It takes about 15 minutes before the result of the test is known, and is officially registered through the health institute Sciensano.

The result then appears a few hours later on the Covid test certificate, which people can consult via the government’s CovidSafeBE app.

“Partly thanks to the pharmacists, people will be able to enjoy a lot of freedom this summer,” Straetmans said. “By offering a rapid test, we will save many travellers and festival-goers stress, by giving them a quick result in a quality way.”

However, while such a test result is accepted in several European countries as an alternative to the PCR test, the APB urges departing travellers to carefully check if and under what conditions the test is accepted.

For this rapid antigen test, no maximum price was set by the government and it is not refundable. It will cost between €25 and €30 per test.