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Home COVID test kits sell out in Germany: When are new supplies expected?

By Abi Carter

Rapid coronavirus test kits that can be carried out at home have been on sale in Germany since Saturday. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been flying off the shelves - with the first batch reportedly selling out within 15 minutes in some parts of the country. So when are the next deliveries expected, and where can you buy them?

Demand soars for home coronavirus test kits

The first coronavirus home test kits to go on sale in Germany have been in hot demand. After hitting the shelves in Aldi for the first time on Saturday, March 6, the first batches sold out within 15 minutes in some branches - despite the fact that each customer was only allowed to purchase one pack of five tests.

The discounter Lidl experienced a temporary outage on its website due to the high demand - and there’s still no indication when the tests will be back in stock. According to the website, they can be ordered again “soon”.

While the country awaits new supplies of the tests, a number of unscrupulous people are now attempting to flog their tests - at outrageously inflated prices - on online marketplaces such as eBay. According to SPIEGEL, the platform is taking “rigorous action” against this happening.

Home test kits promise a small slice of freedom

The hype is hardly surprising. With Germany banking on rapid testing (alongside vaccinations) as a means to gradually make its way out of lockdown, the home test kits have become the symbol of a tiny bit more freedom.

Although they cannot give a firm result of whether one is infected with coronavirus (even a positive rapid test result should be confirmed with a PCR test, according to the RKI), they can give a snapshot indication as to whether somebody is likely to be contagious at that particular moment.

Therefore, they can allow people to make an informed decision before meeting friends and family, or going to work (although contact restrictions are still in place, for the time being). The usual rules on social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing should still be followed, even if the self-test is negative.

Which shops are selling self-tests in Germany?

But before you get tempted to part with some of your hard-earned cash on an overpriced test on eBay, note that more self-tests are on their way. Some of the biggest drugstores in Germany have confirmed they will begin selling self-tests over the next few days.

Rossmann plans to offer tests in all of its 2.200 stores and online “in the course of this week”, with purchases limited to four packs per household. DM and Müller are also expecting home-test kits to come in stock this week. Rewe, Penny and Kaufland have both announced that they hope to begin sales from March 15 onwards.

Other companies, including the drugstore chain Budni, the discounter Netto or the supermarket Edeka, are all planning to stock at-home test kits, but - perhaps in an attempt to avoid disappointment - they are yet to give a firm timeline as to when the kits will go on sale.

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