Member states have unanimously agreed today, by written procedure, on a Council recommendation setting a common framework for the use of rapid antigen tests and the mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results across the EU. This is a central tool to help mitigate the spread of the virus and contribute to the smooth functioning of the internal market; the mutual recognition of test results for SARS-CoV2 infection carried by certified health bodies is essential in order to facilitate cross-border movement, cross-border contact tracing and treatment.
Key components of this recommendation include the validation and mutual recognition of rapid antigen tests and RT-PCR tests among member states, the sharing of a standardised set of data (through a digital platform), the development of a common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, the prioritisation of situations for the use of such tests (e.g. contacts of confirmed cases, outbreak clusters) and more. The recommendation also includes future-proof provisions to address the challenges of the evolving pandemic: the common list of appropriate COVID-19 rapid antigen tests should be flexible enough for addition or removal of those tests whose efficacy is impacted by COVID-19 mutations.