ALMOST 400,000  rapid self-testing COVID-19 kits were bought across Spain during the first week that they were made available to the public. 

A total of 386,155 COVID antigen tests were sold during the week of July 19 to 25, the first in which they were available without a prescription. 

According to data from the consulting firm IQVIA, Catalunya sold the highest number of self testing kits, over 162,000, making up around 42% of the sales in Spain. 

Meanwhile 58,892 kits were sold in Madrid, 43,627 in Galicia, 34,430 in Andalusia and 32,017 in Valencia. 

In the region of Murcia, just 2,169 tests were sold over the counter, fewer than any other community in the country.

Nevertheless, sales of the pharmacy testing kits rose by 319.6% compared with the previous week, when a prescription was still needed to purchase them.

COVID-19 home test kits have been available for pick up without an appointment from pharmacies across Spain since June 19 for people to test themselves. 

Minister Carolina Darias announced that the plans to allow pharmacies to sell home testing had been given green light in a bid to help curb the fifth wave of the virus. 

The expansion is aimed at finding cases that would otherwise go undetected, so anyone testing positive can self-isolate and avoid transmitting the virus to those around them.

It means anyone without symptoms who do not already have access to asymptomatic testing in their workplace or community can test themselves.

Packs of rapid antigen tests are now sold over the counter and will be able to provide results in around 15 minutes. A positive result means people should self-isolate with their household and order a PCR test to confirm the positive result. Antigen tests, while fast and cheap,  are less reliable than PCR tests. 

Anyone who receives a negative result should continue to follow the restrictions and guidance currently in place, as a negative result is not a guarantee that someone does not have COVID-19.

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