The health ministry expects to receive a new order of self-tests in the new year as pharmacies are already running out, officials said on Wednesday.

Earlier in December, the government introduced self-tests as an additional form of testing, meant to supplement but not replace the existing testing regimen.

Pharmacies began distributing free kits to fully vaccinated Gesy beneficiaries on December 20, and the public was encouraged to self-test before visiting family and friends during the holiday season.

Non-Gesy beneficiaries who are fully vaccinated can also get free kits from general hospital maternity centres in all districts.

Head of the health ministry’s testing programme Carolina Stylianou told state radio that the response has been encouraging as pharmacies are starting to run out of self-test kits.

Specifically, she said that 200,000 out of the 300,000 test kits ordered have been snapped up.

She urged the fully vaccinated to also get tested at government testing sites, where they are entitled to free rapid tests.

Stylianou finally said that at least one more week is needed to determine whether this measure has helped facilitate monitoring the spread of the virus.