As of this Friday, screening tests for Covid-19, PCR or antigens, will become chargeable in France, with the exception of tests prescribed for medical reasons.
The measure, announced last July by President Emmanuel Macron, aims to put an end to so-called “comfort” tests, either to obtain a valid pass to be able to access public places or to travel.
From now on, they will cost at least 44 euros for a PCR and 22 euros for an antigen. For vaccinated people, screening will remain free.
As of today, PCR and antigenic tests will no longer be “automatically 100% covered by health insurance,” the French government said on its site.
To encourage the population to get tested and thus contain the spread of the epidemic, these tests were paid for since the start of the health crisis in France. But since the arrival of the vaccine, it is “no longer legitimate to pay excessively for comfort tests at taxpayers’ expense,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said at the end of September.
This new measure, in addition to the savings it induces for social security, is also intended to encourage vaccination with a view to achieving collective immunity, we are assured on the side of the executive.
However, the entry into force of this measure is apprehended by epidemiologists who fear that with paid tests, fewer people decide to do it, which could scramble the monitoring of the circulation of Covid-19 in France.
“The epidemiological data will be more difficult to interpret from mid-October with the reduction in the number of tests carried out due to their delisting,” said the Scientific Council in an opinion dated October 6.
Since March 2020, more than 150 million tests have been carried out in France, including 6 million per week in August, in connection with the extension of the health pass, according to Public Service. But this figure has since decreased, so over the week of October 4 to 10, 3.2 million tests were carried out in France. The first week of July, before the introduction of the health pass, this figure had dropped to 1.9 million.