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Government will offer free widespread testing before Christmas

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Czech citizens will be able to get a free antigen test as a part of the programme initiated by the Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš. The testing will be voluntary and will be offered over the course of ten days before Christmas.

“It would be a good thing; it would be effective. I think they may be interested in it,” Babiš said about the testing, reports.

The army will help with the wide-spread testing. Babiš expressed his gratitude to the military for their help during the pandemic. The Czech army has already built 500 beds for COVID-19 patients in the Letňany exhibition grounds.

“I would really like to thank you very much, because the army was the one that helped us fundamentally in our fight against the pandemic.” said Babiš, reports.

The test will be free, meaning that the state will pay for it – the price for each such test is 150 CZK. In comparison, PCR tests cost around 2000 CZK.

The main condition for the testing would be for the Czech Republic to remain in the third level of danger according to PES system. Together with the tests, it would allow for more social interactions during the celebrations.

“It is necessary for the Ministry of Health to submit an antigen test plan as soon as possible. I would very much like to meet this challenge by Christmas,” said Babiš.

The Czech Republic is not the only one using antigen tests for wide-spread testing. Similarly, Slovakia launched its testing campaign in October with approximately 830,000 total participants. Out of them, 7,947 tested positive, which is about one percent of the population.

The antigen tests show the results within minutes and are cheaper, but their inaccuracy can be very high. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the rate of false negatives is around 50%. However, the rate of false positives is close to 0%.

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