Starting Monday, the Capital Area Health Service will offer rapid tests to detect Covid infections. Rapid tests are much faster and cheaper than the PCR tests that have been used so far. It is hoped that this measure will relieve the strain on the health system caused by the increase in tourists.
Rapid tests for entering the country
The rapid tests are not intended for those who have Covid symptoms but only for those who need a negative result to enter another country. The rapid tests are able to show results in one hour, meanwhile, it can take up to twenty-four hours to get results from PCR tests.
Additionally, rapid tests only require a sample from the nose, unlike PCR tests where samples are taken both from the nose and throat.
Not all countries accept rapid tests
Margrét Héðinsdóttir, a nurse at the Capital Area Health Service, told Vísir that people need to check carefully whether the country they are going to considers rapid tests to be valid. Iceland, for example, does not.
“But there are many countries that allow people to take rapid tests. The quick test is cheaper, it costs ISK 4,000, while the PCR test costs ISK 7,000. Each country decides this for themselves,” Margrét says.
However, rapid tests have a higher risk of being uncertain than PCR tests. It is hoped that the rapid tests will ease the burden on the health care system.
Margrét explains: “Everything is exploding in tourism and a lot of people are leaving the country. It is not possible to do a PCR test for everyone. If the countries accept a rapid test, then we can offer it.”
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