According to a report from Lusa, pharmacies in the Algarve have been able to respond to the increased demand for rapid tests to detect Covid-19 due to rules on access to tourist accommodation and restaurants in the municipalities with the highest levels of risk.
“There is a lot of demand, from both nationals and foreigners, but there has never been any problems with the provision of rapid tests or antigen self-tests”, said António Pedro, the owner of a pharmacy in Praia da Rocha, Portimão.
He told Lusa that despite demand increasing for tests, the pharmacies currently have an ample supply thanks to “products being sourced in a timely manner”.
The rapid antigen tests have been 100 percent subsidised by the State since 1 July and there are currently 406 pharmacies in the country offering free tests in their establishments.
The reimbursement is limited to a maximum of four tests per month per person and does not apply to those who already have a vaccination certificate or a recovery certificate. The programme also does not cover tests for children under 12 years old.
In Albufeira, in the four pharmacies contacted by Lusa confirmed that “there has been no interruption in the supply of tests so far”.
Maria Campos, a technician at the Olhos d’Água pharmacy, told Lusa that “there is a very large increase in the demand for self-tests, mainly by national citizens”, but she added that “there has always been the capacity to respond to all requests”.
“The Portuguese are the ones who are buying the most self-tests to access restaurants and other places where their use is required. Among foreigners, who are in smaller number, a large percentage are Spanish tourists”, she highlighted.
In the hotel sector, so far, there is no record of difficulties in the acquisition of tests by tourist accommodation units in the Algarve, according to the president of the Association of Hotels and Touristic Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA).
Speaking to Lusa, Elidérico Viegas reiterated his “dissatisfaction” with the obligation to carry out tests in hotel units which he believes has contributed “to drive away more people who would consider coming on holiday to the Algarve”.
For the president of the largest regional hotel association, it is an “inadequate measure and without health logic” and it is regrettable “that the Government has not already ended this obligation to hotel units, because it is a measure that makes no sense”.
Elidérico Viegas regretted that the self-tests were being carried out “by people without technical knowledge to be able to measure the results”, a “perfectly illogical thing and whose effectiveness raises many doubts”.
“It is a confusion that the sector did not need and that has contributed to alienate more people who would have thought of coming on holiday to the Algarve”, he said.
Elidérico Viegas said he hopes the Government will “reconsider the rules and quickly end this measure of transferring responsibilities to hotel staff that belong to other entities.”