Before New Year’s Eve, there is a rush on tests « to reassure the family »


« Are you also for a test before the holidays? » »Asks a pharmacist. At the corner of rue Saint-Charles and rue Convention, in front of his pharmacy in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, the queue to carry out antigenic tests is not decreasing. The screening tent set up in front of the entrance attracts people. However, two other pharmacies are open within 200 meters. On Christmas Eve, the inhabitants of the district flock to the swabs before joining (or not) their relatives.

While customers are checking in indoors, others are getting tested outdoors, in a continuous rotation. The attendance does not decrease. “Usually we do between 60 and 80 tests per day,” explains the employee responsible for carrying them out. There I am at 100 people tested when it is only 14 hours. Nationally, 385,000 additional antigen tests were performed last week compared to the previous one. “We have seen a huge peak in the last three days,” explains the president of the Central Council of the National Order of Pharmacists.

« Positive people will not come to celebrate Christmas »

“In previous weeks, we were already seeing an increase in the number of tests performed per day, with the arrival of the wave due to the Omicron variant. This week, they mostly come in anticipation of the holidays, ”says the nurse who performs the tests at Pharmance. She sees scrolling contact cases, some unvaccinated, but especially young people who want to be sure to be negative before seeing their grandparents.

In some families, all the guests at the Christmas dinner are ordered to take a test. « If there are positive people, they will not come, » says Clément, who has come to do his own. “It’s mainly to reassure the family and for more security. A triply vaccinated father is also rigorous. “I bought a self-test for my wife and asked my three children to get tested. « According to the member of the National Order of Pharmacists, » many more people are being tested than last year at Christmas. This follows the government’s recommendations. « 

A shortage of self-tests

Hardly more than 100 m further, another pharmacy remains however almost empty. Its owner explains that he is out of stock for all the products concerning the detection of Covid-19. “Right now, informing people that we have more tests is a bit like telling them not to come to our pharmacy,” he says, an information he has been repeating over and over since this morning.

« We are experiencing an increase in requests, » explains the Delpech pharmacy in an email sent to colleagues about the shortage of self-tests. The establishment, responsible for providing it to client pharmacies, informs them that they will certainly not receive their orders by December 24. « There is a supply period of 4 to 5 days, and many already have no more tests, » confirms the president of the board of the National Order of Pharmacists.

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