Italy: Naples draws on coffee tradition to offer covid-19 tests for those unable to pay

Rome: Neapolitans are paying for covid-19 tests for total strangers, inspired by the “caffè sospeso” tradition of a customer paying for an additional coffee to be enjoyed later by a stranger who cannot afford it.

The “tampone sospeso” initiative comes as the public healthcare system in Naples is struggling to cope with the backlog of people seeking covid-19 tests, with the option of paying for a test privately out of reach for many poorer people.

The swab tests, which cost the donor €18, are offered at the Basilica di S. Severo where medical staff are undertaking about 100 tests a day.

The initiative, described as “a strong gesture of solidarity,” is organised by the charitable association SaDiSa, Diritti in Salute, together with Fondazione Comunità di S. Gennaro Onlus and local authorities.