The CEO of the Lidl supermarket chain in Ireland, JP Scally, has defended the sale of antigen tests in their stores.
Many stores around the country were sold out of the tests over the weekend, he told RTÉ Radio 1, with 10,000 kits sold on Friday when they went on sale at 9am.
Mr Scally said the price of €24.99 for a pack of five tests was the most competitive on the market as the cheapest elsewhere was €10 for one test. He said he had heard of people buying them online for €100 per test.
Staff at Lidl are using the kits themselves once a week, he added and were “delighted” at this extra level of security. “The uptake from staff has been very positive.”
One member of staff who tested positive using the antigen test, removed himself from the workplace, then went to his GP who referred him for a PCR test, and he was found to have Covid-19.
When asked about comments by the chief medical officer Tony Holohan about people buying groceries and the antigen test kit and thinking they had done their bit, Mr Scally said “we have to trust the public”.
The Irish public had been very compliant generally, and he did not think this situation would be any different. Antigen testing had an important role to play, he said. “We have to trust that they (public) will use it properly.”
Lidl had found that 99 per cent of customers followed all the guidelines of wearing masks, using hand sanitizers. “This will be no different.”
Speaking during Friday's National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) briefing, Dr Holohan said people should not buy Covid-19 antigen tests sold in supermarkets due to the risk of false results.
Nphet is “genuinely concerned” about the sale of the testing kits and their use in uncontrolled circumstances, the chief medical officer said.
Dr Holohan said their use poses a “real risk” to the fight against the virus because of the possibility of false negative results.