The head of the French government Jean Castex announced that the country will end the free COVID-19 tests next month, Les Echos newspaper has learned.
France’s prime minister confirmed the end of free-of-charge COVID-19 tests. As Mr Castex said in his recent interview, since October 15, ‘convenience tests’ will no longer be free for all residents of France.
Commenting on the measure, PM said that after that date only tests done for medical reasons – people with symptoms or contact cases – will be free. Across France, unvaccinated people will need a prescription to obtain a free test, vaccinated people will not need a prescription.
“The tests will continue to be reimbursed for medical reasons, either without a prescription for those already vaccinated, or with a prescription for others. In concrete terms, if you have a fever or symptoms corresponding to Covid-19, your test will still be free,” the first minister said.
As Castex added, it is no longer legitimate to pay for convenience tests to excess at the expense of taxpayers. While the PCR-tests (€49) will remain free in all circumstances for under 18s and widespread testing in schools will continue, antigen tests (€29) will remain available on a walk-in basis at pharmacies.
France is ready for 4th wave: COVID tests, health passport
The French health ministry is fighting the gripe next month. The main aim of the new policy is to discourage unimmunized citizens from using regular tests to access the health passport since they will now have to pay and get vaccinated instead.
Testing in France has been free in all circumstances for residents of France since the beginning of the pandemic, and before the vaccination rollout began people were encouraged to take a test if they intended to travel or visit vulnerable or elderly people.
According to the statistics, France spent €2.2 billion on testing in 2020. That huge amount has covered the widespread testing for the general public began in the summer – and is projected to spend €4.9 billion in 2021.