Government to start funding ‘quickie antigen tests’: four per month

From tomorrow (Thursday July 1) the government is ready to start helping with the costs of ‘quickie antigen tests’.

Anyone with an SNS health service number will be entitled to take up to four of these tests per month, each one of which will be subsidised by the government up to a value of €10.

These tests are ‘accepted’ for the Covid Digital Certificate, and they can afford entry into some European countries.

Their validity tends to be less than PCR (48-hours as opposed to 72), but they cost less and the results come within roughly half an hour.

The great advantage of these tests is that they can be done at pharmacies (see below).

In the ordinance published in Diário da República today, there are three exceptions to the granting of the State’s financial ‘participation’. Tests will not be eligible if they are for children under the age of 12, if they are for people who have completed their course of vaccine (either the one-dose or two-dose varieties) or if they are for people who have only recently recovered from Covid-19 (more than 11 days, but less than 18).

The document, signed by secretary of State for health Diogo Serra Lopes explains that ‘the emission of orientations’ still has to come from the DGS health authority and INSA (the national health authority Dr Ricardo Jorge). Until this comes, any quickie tests done may not benefit from the €10 subsidy.

The ordinance is valid until the end of July, “but may be extended”.

Advice from a pharmacy:

It is best to call ahead to book an antigen test.

In the case of the pharmacy we spoke to, the test costs €38.50. Anyone needing one must phone to book a slot, then email their ID/ passport number, their address and telephone number.

This allows for all the paperwork to be prepared pre-testing, and means the process can be completed as quickly as possible.

Antigen tests can also be done at State testing centres (click here)

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com