Czech Health Minister to order 10 million COVID-19 Antigen tests

Health Minister Jan Blatny to order tests, cost to be covered by public health insurance.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 10.11.2020 12:00 (updated on 10.11.2020)

Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) - Antigen tests can be paid for through public health insurance, the Czech government decided today when it approved a draft amendment to the public insurance law, which still needs to be passed by the two houses of parliament.

Health Minister Jan Blatny (for ANO) said after a government meeting that the distributor will be allowed to buy the tests and deliver them. "To avoid complicated procedures, we propose to change the law and allow for a direct payment of the distributor who buys the antigen tests and subsequently distributes them," he said.

On Friday, Blatny said that the negotiations about the form of the purchase of antigen tests postponed their delivery. "We tried to find a mechanism for their payment from the public health insurance system last week," he said today.

All facilities that have to test their clients and employees for COVID-19 should receive them within a week. According to an extraordinary measure, the first round of testing should take place before Wednesday, November 11.

Blatny said the distribution of the tests to all parts of the country started on today and is likely to be finished within a week. He said the Avenier firm was chosen as the distributor because it had contracts will all health insurance companies.

Blatny said he expects to order up to ten million tests. "We would like to get the antigen tests also to general practitioners and others, but it has not been decided yet. We are negotiating about it," he said.

The government also decided today to buy further 45 million protective gloves, which is enough for two months. The Administration of the State Material Reserves (SSHR) already has such a supply of the gloves. The government decided to order more because there are not enough protective gloves on the world market and there is no Czech producer of the gloves.

Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek (for ANO) told journalists that the SSHR had a sufficient, obligatory two-month supply of all protective equipment. He said the SSHR was continuously buying protective equipment. Individual ministries and state companies must have their own supplies, irrespective of the SSHR reserves, Havlicek said.

At present, the SSHR has 72 million face masks and further 13 million have been ordered, or 24 million more than is required. It will also have 17 million respirators, or two million more than required, Havlicek said.

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