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COVID: US government to invest $600 million in rapid home tests

COVID: US government to invest $600 million in rapid home tests

The US government will invest $600 million (€562.9 million) in 12 COVID home test manufacturers as cases and hospitalisations rise.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced that it would also reopen a free home testing programme that delivers rapid tests to households across the country.

«These critical investments will strengthen our nation’s production levels of domestic at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help mitigate the spread of the virus,» said the US health and human services secretary, Xavier Becerra.

From 25 September, US households will be able to order four free tests online through COVIDTests.gov.

«These tests will detect the currently circulating COVID-19 variants, are intended for use through the end of 2023, and will include clear instructions on how to verify extended expiration dates,» the government said.

The government previously provided more than 755 million free tests to households.

Last week, the US government approved updated vaccine boosters for circulating strains of the Omicron variant. People aged 5 and older are eligible to receive a single dose of one of the updated vaccines.

What’s the situation in European countries?

At the European Union/European Economic Area level, there has been a decrease in COVID-19 cases despite a previous increasing trend, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

«The impact on severe disease and mortality remained limited,» the ECDC said.

In France and Germany, COVID-19 tests are no longer reimbursed by the government as of earlier this year. In certain cases, such as for vulnerable or older individuals, tests can be reimbursed while rapid self-tests are available over the counter in pharmacies.

Belgium currently reimburses tests prescribed by a doctor for people who are at risk of hospitalisation and people in contact with vulnerable individuals.

Spain, meanwhile, limited the price of rapid COVID tests in pharmacies to €2.94 last year.

Testing is free in Poland if a doctor decides the patient needs a rapid test, the health ministry said last year.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency recommended authorisation of the adapted vaccines targeting new Omicron variants last week.

France has moved up its winter vaccination campaign to early October for people over the age of 65 and those with other risk factors.

Germany still recommends that no further COVID booster is necessary for healthy adults under the age of 60 and pregnant women.

Italy recommends COVID boosters for vulnerable individuals, people over the age of 60, pregnant women, and health workers.

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