Covid-19 home test kits on sale in France 'from this week'
Self-tests are already available in several European countries
Update March 20: The self-tests are not yet on sale despite the health director's claim. Read more about it here.
Rapid antigen at-home tests for Covid-19 will go on sale in France this week, the head of France's direction générale de la Santé has said.
Jérôme Salomon told BFM TV on Sunday that final approval from the Haute Autorité de Santé was all that stood in the way of home-test sales, which are already available in a number of European nations, including Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom.
Last week, the head of retail giant Système U said selling the nasal swab Covid-19 home tests in supermarkets was 'common sense'.
It would offer 'one more tool' to combat Covid-19, Salomon confirmed, but added: "We need to be sure that these tests are reliable.
"We cannot authorise tests in France which would give false negative results, or false positives, and therefore mislead."
The question of what happens after a positive home test and how to trigger the contact tracing process was key, he said. "The real question is how we trigger the Tester-Alerter-Protéger system to enable follow-up."
He could not confirm whether the cost of the home tests - which are sold in packs of five in German Aldi stores for €24.99, and in Lidl for €21.99 - would be reimbursed by the state.
These rapid antigen home tests are considered less reliable than PCR tests, but are easier to use and return results within 15 minutes. They are reportedly 98.2% sensitive, compared to the 100% sensitivity of PCR tests.