No more free tests on COVID-19
Ontario stops its free coronavirus rapid tests for program.
The free coronavirus rapid test distribution program in Ontario will stop at the end of this month. The spread of COVID-19 has declined, the rate of vaccination among residents is increasing, and the demand for rapid tests in the province is falling. Because of this, the Ministry of Health has decided to phase out the program of distribution of free rapid tests through pharmacies and grocery stores starting June 30.
However, the ministry promises that free tests will continue to be distributed in some "high priority" communities until December 31. Free tests will be available in organizations such as community health centres and Ontario Health Teams. The Ministry of Health also says that widespread distribution of the tests will continue for those social groups that represent people at high risk of severe consequences from COVID-19.
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Not everyone agrees with the decision. New Democratic Party health critic France Gelinas says COVID-19 tests should remain available to people who need them.
Jelina declares: "Ontarians need to continue to have access to rapid antigen tests. Do we need them in every pharmacy in the numbers that we had before? Probably not. But do they need to be available to every community? Yes."
Liberal health critic Adil Shamji adds: "If they are going to wind down the RAT program in the midst of low rates of COVID-19, they must do so with plans to ensure equitable testing access for future outbreaks and during upcoming respiratory seasons."
Ordinary Canadians, on the other hand, might not be too critical of the Health Department's decision. According to a survey conducted late last year, most Canadians thought the worst coronavirus times were over.
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