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Opticians, vets: 16 new professions can now do Covid tests in France

The list has been expanded in a bid to meet soaring cases and high demand for tests

A medical professional holds a long swab kit to a man’s nose, with his mask lowered

More professionals in France are now authorised to take swabs for Covid tests, in a bid to meet soaring demand Pic: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

More medical professionals, including opticians and dieticians, are now authorised to perform Covid tests in France in a bid to curb the sharp increase in cases.

In a decree published on Thursday (January 20), Health Minister Olivier Véran added to the list of professionals who are officially authorised to take "nasopharyngeal (back of nose), oropharyngeal (back of throat), saliva and nasal" swabs. 

In total, 16 more professions have received authorisation.

These are: 

  • Speech therapists
  • Chiropodists
  • Orthoptists
  • Medical physicists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychometricians (a type of psychologist)
  • Audio prosthetists
  • Dieticians
  • Opticians
  • Ortho-prosthetists
  • Pedorthists
  • Ocularists
  • Ear prosthetists 
  • Orthopaedic surgeons
  • Dental assistants
  • Veterinarians and veterinary public health inspectors (on condition that they hold a diploma, certificate or title entitling them to practise as a veterinarian in France)

Mr Véran said: “In view of the very high circulation of the [virus], to meet the very high demand for individual tests, we must make use of additional staff.”

The rise in positive cases coincides with the increase of tests being taken

France has recorded an average of 337,196 Covid cases in the past week. Between Wednesday and Thursday, 425,183 positive cases were reported, an increase of 39% from the week before.

The website estimates that in the week of January 10 to [January] 17 up to 2.2 million people got tested each day in France.

In comparison, in the month before - December 2021 - around 800,000 to 1,000,000 people were being tested each day, although this rose slightly over the Christmas holiday.

Read more: Covid: ‘The more we test, the more we panic,’ says French doctor

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Why is France easing Covid restrictions when cases are at record high?

France plans hundreds of extra Covid testing centres - but why?

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