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Rapid COVID tests available in German supermarkets as Europe records 1 million COVID cases

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
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Customers wait for the opening of a branch of the German discounter 'Aldi' in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, March 6, 2021.
Customers wait for the opening of a branch of the German discounter 'Aldi' in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, March 6, 2021.   -   Copyright  Haller/dpa via AP
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Supermarket chain Aldi has begun selling coronavirus home testing kits in Germany, with supplies in some cases quickly being sold out.

The five rapid tests cost around €25 and long queues formed to buy them. Around seven brands are approved in the country.

It comes as the country begins to ease out of lockdown but as new COVID-19 variants continue to leave Europe struggling to ease restrictions.

A slow EU vaccination campaign has also hindered efforts to begin a return to normal life.

Europe recorded one million new COVID-19 cases last week, an increase of 9% from the previous week and a reversal that ended a six-week decline in new infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

"The spread of the variants is driving the increase, but not only," said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, citing "also the opening of society, when it is not done in a safe and a controlled manner."

Many are becoming weary of lockdown restrictions, however.

French police cleared river banks and tried to stop people from consuming alcohol in public. In Dunkirk and Nice, where the UK variant is rapidly spreading, there are local lockdowns.

Meanwhile, in Austria, thousands of people gathered on Saturday for several illegal anti-lockdown protests in Vienna. According to local reports, around 15,000 participants took part - many of them were not wearing face masks.