Germany stops offering free corona tests

Berlin: As vaccinations are generally freely available to citizens in Germany, free Covid-19 testing will no longer be offered as of Monday.

Individuals who cannot be vaccinated and for whom there is no general recommendation for vaccination continue to receive free rapid antigen testing, according to the government. Free Covid-19 testing, for example, will still be available for children under 12, Xinhua news agency reported.

Minister of Health Jens Spahn defended the move. Fairness to the taxpayer makes it necessary to abolish free test for citizens, he told the Funke Mediengruppe on Sunday.

The Robert Koch Institute for disease control and prevention (RKI) registered on Monday 3,111 positive Covid-19 tests within 24 hours. The incidence rate of new infections per 100,000 people climbed to a two-week high at 66.5.

To date, almost 54.27 million people in Germany have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, bringing the country’s vaccination rate to 65.3 percent, according to the RKI.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh aims to administer Covid-19 vaccines to nearly half of its population by next January.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday said the Bangladeshi government is working to vaccinate 80 million people by December and January, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Bangladesh’s state-run news agency BSS.

The minister said the government is considering vaccinating children aged between 12 and 17 years.

Bangladesh has already announced a target of vaccinating 80 percent of its population by 2022. The South Asian country has so far got nearly 70 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bangladesh launched the vaccine rollout in January. As of October, 9,36,178,946 people in Bangladesh have reportedly received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while 17,940,300 were fully vaccinated.

The coronavirus infection and fatality rates have fallen significantly since August as the government bolstered inoculation drives in extensive areas to rein in Covid-19, according to Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS).