Demand for pharmacy COVID tests almost doubled in lead up to New Year
Swiss pharmacies have reported overcrowding in their businesses and high demand for COVID tests, exacerbated by the lead up to new 2G+ restrictions, the Christmas holidays and the rise of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
COVID tests in Switzerland hard to come by
Speaking to SonntagsZeitung, President of pharmaSuisse, Martine Ruggli-Ducrot, feared that pharmacies in the country will become overloaded over New Year’s, as demand for COVID tests from pharmacies has practically doubled in recent weeks. She warned that those who have not received the booster COVID vaccine will have to use COVID tests to enter bars and nightclubs as part of 2G+ rules, resulting in huge demand over the holiday period.
As part of the new COVID restrictions announced earlier this December, the government can pay for certain COVID tests for vaccinated people, to placate cantons and their businesses that now require testing as part of 2G+. This has led to large queues at testing sites across the country, which has now spread to pharmacies.
Those wanting a COVID test should expect a long wait
Ruggli-Ducrot predicted a long wait at testing sites over New Year’s, as most pharmacies are already fully booked. “In Geneva, for example, we already had to queue for over an hour last week,” she noted. She said that the new Omicron variant was also putting strain on pharmacies as more people who are infected by the virus will also be waiting to test.
The President of pharmaSuisse made the point that cantons and councils (Gemeinde) throughout Switzerland have closed too many vaccination and testing centres, “Causing too many bottlenecks for laboratories; many of which will be closed between Christmas and New Year.” In view of the current lack of available tests, Ruggli-Ducrot recommended unvaccinated and "un-boosted" people “to be careful and to party in small groups.”