A decree published on Saturday July 25 in the Official Journal authorizes state-certified nurses, students in dentistry, maieutics and pharmacy, caregivers, firefighters, marine firefighters and first aiders from approved safety associations civilian with adequate first aid training to take samples for Covid-19 screening tests. This measure was taken by the government to compensate for the lack of manpower in the laboratories. It is also expected that the tests, even without a prescription, will be covered by Health Insurance. A test costs 54 euros.

The government has already extended the possibility of taking samples, initially reserved for medical biologists only, to 40,000 laboratory technicians. These are PCR virological tests for which the waiting times are now too long in many areas, especially in Île-de-France, where the lack of personnel and the high demand are leading to near saturation. A problem that could be accentuated as France has just strengthened its screening system by making mandatory tests at airports for travelers from 16 countries classified as “red”.

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Distribution of approved masks

“It takes a lot more people to take the samples. If we want to control the epidemic, we must test the population much more widely, “said on Saturday on Europe 1, epidemiologist Catherine Hill. “We focused on the outbreaks, but it is a serious mistake, we must focus on the carriers of the virus,” she warned while the Directorate General of Health (DGS) alerted the day before as the fact that viral circulation was “sharply increasing” in the country, with more than 1,000 new cases per day.

The decree also ratifies the free distribution of masks to the most vulnerable French people, a measure announced by the Minister of Health Olivier Véran on Wednesday (40 million masks distributed to the 7 million French beneficiaries of complementary solidarity health, aid to payment of supplementary health and state medical aid).