Antigen tests approved for sale in supermarkets, prices expected to drop

Antigen tests will be sold in supermarkets and will be distributed for free in kindergartens and elementary schools, in an effort to lower their price.

 COVID-19 antigen self-test, Panbio  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
COVID-19 antigen self-test, Panbio
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Health Ministry approved on Sunday the sale of COVID antigen tests in supermarkets in order to lower their price, the ministry announced.

In addition, Israel will issue kindergartners and elementary schoolchildren free COVID-19 home tests, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.

At-home antigen tests are in high demand due to the government's instruction for people under 60 who are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus to use them instead of PCR tests if they are exposed to a verified case or present symptoms (these individuals can also undergo an antigen test at one of the country's testing station).

The Health Ministry provided a list of criteria for a store to be able to sell the test:

  • The store must be licensed to sell food and drinks, not including butcheries.
  • The tests will only be sold in their original packages.
  • The tests will be stored at a distance from any product that can damage its quality, such as unpackaged foods, raw fruit and vegetables and cleaning liquids.
  • They will also need to be stored away from direct sunlight or any other heat source, and the temperature of their storage room needs to be between 2-25 degrees celsius.
 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, December 19, 2021. (credit: EMIL SALMAN/HAARETZ) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, December 19, 2021. (credit: EMIL SALMAN/HAARETZ)

Economy Ministry supervisors will oversee the implementation of the storage requirements, Economy Minister Orna Barbivay said.

The directive will be carried out in the coming days and will be valid until April 15.

"We will do everything needed so that nobody will take advantage of the situation in order to make money off of the public's back," said Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.

Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.