Share article:
Share article:

EU to purchase over 20 million coronavirus rapid tests

A rapid antigen test for Covid-19. Credit: Belga

More than 20 million rapid coronavirus tests will be purchased for the EU, with the tests being made available by early 2021, the European Commission announced on Friday.

The announcement follows a request from the European Council, which on 11 December asked the Commission to “present a proposal for a Council recommendation on a common framework for rapid antigen tests and for the mutual recognition of test results.”

“Rapid antigen tests offer us speed, reliability and quick responses to isolate Covid cases. This is crucial to slow down the spread of the pandemic,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, in a press release.

The Commission sees the use of rapid tests as “increasingly advisable” as the more reliable PCR tests face shortages, are relatively pricey and take a long time to yield results, it explained in the press release.

The use of the tests is recommended in particular for diagnosis among symptomatic cases, contacts of confirmed cases, outbreak clusters, screening in high-risk areas and closed settings, the Commission said.

Related News

 

The European Commission has also signed agreements with various pharmaceutical companies for deliveries of vaccines.

While none have been approved yet, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is set to meet on 21 January to decide on the authorisation of the Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine, which has already received approval for emergency use in the UK and the United States.

If the Pfizer vaccine gets the green light, the EU aims to start rolling out the vaccine from 27 December. However, “testing will remain fundamental in the coming months,” Kyriakides warned.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Aggression against railway staff more than doubled since 2020
In the first three quarters of 2021, the number of reports of aggression against national railway company SNCB's staff has more than doubled compared ...
Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...
Closing borders and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...