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Situation in Bonn shops: Why are there no rapid tests in supermarkets yet?

Situation in Bonn shops : Why are there no rapid tests in supermarkets yet?

Since the beginning of March, it should be possible to get a Corona self-test in many supermarkets and drugstores. But both customers and shops are still waiting for the tests.

The sale of Corona self-tests continues to languish. Although the discounter Aldi had a few products on offer at the weekend, they were sold out in Bonn after a short time. The drugstore branches of dm and Rossmann have postponed their sales starts until next Friday. Companies in Bonn such as the public utility company and Telekom want to include the tests, which anyone can do themselves, in their hygiene concepts from April.

Actually, the layman's tests should have been on the shelves of dm and Rossmann already on Tuesday - and thus shortly after Aldi had rushed ahead with a sales campaign at the weekend. But many customers in Bonn went away empty-handed. The five tests in the package for around 20 euros each, of which only about ten were in stock at the checkout, were already sold out in the morning. Since then, there have been no more supplies. At the competitor Lidl, online-only sales started at the weekend; here, too, demand was high and the website was temporarily unavailable. On Tuesday, the site only said that the packs would be "available for order soon". This is probably due to delivery problems, which dm and Rossmann also have to deal with. The tests should now arrive in the drugstores on Friday. In the shops in Bonn, many customers ask the staff about this. "They ask when the tests will be available. But they also understand that we don't offer them yet," says a dm store manager in the city centre.

Edeka buys through its own head office

Bonn-based Edeka operator Christoph Mohr also wants to offer the layman tests, but is still waiting for the goods. "The tests are procured through the Edeka head office, we then take delivery," he explains. Information on this is to come next week. Mohr does not want to go it alone commercially, as was the case with facemasks at the beginning of the pandemic, for example. "If we buy through our head office, that guarantees us certified products with good quality.“

There are definitely differences in quality, as Ingo Nückel from the Veedels pharmacy in Beuel points out. He makes sure to put only tests approved and certified by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), whose headquarters are in Bonn, on his shelves. Currently, eight lay tests from the manufacturers Healgen, Boson, Hangzhou Laihe, Biosensor, Ameda and Hotgen are listed on the BfArM website. Depending on the model, they are used with a nasal swab, a throat swab or as a spit test. Since some do not yet have CE certification, there are special approvals from the BfArM, which are, however, linked to some prerequisites. For laypersons, according to information from the authority, the test manufacturer must prove that it has submitted an application for a regular conformity assessment procedure to a European body, for example the Tüv. In addition, there must be instructions for use that can be understood by non-professional users. The same applies to the test result.

Confusion about self-test and quick test

"The demand is more from private people, both for layman tests and for rapid tests," says Ingo Nückel. Many people are still confused about the difference between the two products. "The layman's test is more for making sure you are safe before visiting grandma". The real quick test, on the other hand, certifies the result. So far, Nückel has to disappoint with them all. He plans to offer the rapid tests, in which trained staff take a swab, from next week. "We can already order the layman tests through our wholesaler, who also supplies us with medicines several times a day, but the prices are still quite high," he says. But Nückel has found an alternative that allows him to offer the self-tests as early as Thursday or Friday.

Unlike the quick test, which every citizen can take once a week in pharmacies, test centres or at the doctor's office free of charge, the Bonn health office does not receive an automatic notification if the self-test is positive. Anyone who tests themselves at home and thereby receives evidence of being infected with Sars-CoV-2 must immediately go into quarantine. "Subsequently, contact should be made with the public health department," says deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann. Then a PCR test will be arranged, the result of which will either end the quarantine or confirm it. On Tuesday, there had not yet been any reports of people in Bonn with positive self-tests.

SWB want to offer self-testing to employees from April

The extent to which the self-tests will also be included in the hygiene concepts of Bonn companies is still unclear in many places. Telekom, for example, points out that it still wants to examine the decisions of the federal government in detail in this regard. "In principle, extended self-tests can be a useful addition to our hygiene concept. So far, we have used quick tests mainly on an ad hoc basis in technology or in the field, for example when entering nursing homes," says a spokesperson. Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) plans to offer self-tests to its employees by the beginning of April. "This gives us further protection and strengthens the security of our own operations," says press spokesman Jürgen Winterwerp.

(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach / Translation: Mareike Graepel)