Health Ministry lets Education Ministry decide if saliva tests for pupils can be done at home

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The legislation in force does not exclude the use of non-invasive rapid antigen tests performed at home from the saliva test, and the decision to use these tests at home “belongs to the educational system”, the Ministry of Health announced today.

The Health ministry argues that testing with this type of test is not a medical act, and “the use of tests does not require medical training or special working conditions.”

The Ministry of Health reminds that the introduction of rapid non-invasive antigen tests performed from the saliva sample has been requested by the Ministry of Education since February this year and this institution also asked the Health Specialists for an instruction for use.

The Ministry of Health emphasizes that “the educational field that requested the use of this type of test is entitled to decide on how to use it”.

Rapid non-invasive antigen tests performed on saliva can be used for preventive purposes to test for early detection of asymptomatic infections among students. The positive result of a saliva test raises the suspicion of possible infection (suspicious case) and must be followed by diagnosis by RT-PCR method or a rapid antigen test, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Health Ministry also says that the educational units or the Ministry of Education, as the case may be, can establish the flows for taking-teaching tests, the correctness of their processing / interpretation, the correctness of reporting and to whom the reporting will be done, depending on the number of users,  available teaching staff, the number of medical staff at the level of educational units, etc.

On November 11, 2021, the National Committee for Emergency Situations authorized the Ministry of Health to develop a procedure for administering non-invasive rapid antigen tests performed from the saliva sample, to be used in educational institutions.

However, Education minister Sorin Cimpeanu has asked the Health Ministry to tell them the right procedure to test pupils in schools, based on anti-Covid saliva tests.

On the other hand, the pupils and teachers voiced concerns over the procedure, with teachers mostly rejecting the idea of them being the ones who should test children.

The interim Minister of Education, Sorin Cîmpeanu, told Digi24 on Monday, that the non-invasive Covid-19 saliva-based tests, for students are expected to arrive in schools in the upcoming days, by the beginning of next week.

“Subsequent contracts were signed on Friday, after the framework agreements for the three batches had been signed at the beginning of last week. Subsequent contracts are signed, those who have won the tender have between one and five days to submit the letters of bank guarantee. The delivery time for the first batch is between one and five days. So, we can have them on Wednesday, we can have them on Thursday, we can have them on Friday, we can have them next week, on Monday“, said Minister Cîmpeanu.

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