Madrid region wants to test all inhabitants by Christmas

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In the Spanish capital region around Madrid, all 6.6 million inhabitants are to be tested for the coronavirus by Christmas. Yesterday, the conservative regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso submitted a request to the EU Commission to allow antigen tests in pharmacies throughout the European Union. The Spanish central government refuses to give the green light for this. The region of Madrid and the central government have been at loggerheads over the pandemic for months.

Ayuso pointed out on Twitter that such tests are already possible in France, Great Britain or Portugal. Mass diagnosis is “the key to defeating the virus,” he said. Bureaucracy should not be a brake. Earlier, the head of the Spanish authority for health emergencies, Fernando Simon, had declared that antigen tests in pharmacies were too risky – also because staff could become infected.

Number of cases down
In recent weeks, the capital region – in summer still the coronavirus epicenter of Western Europe – has been successful with relatively loose restrictions and the cordoning off of only small areas with particularly high infection rates. The number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants within 14 days fell to 324, and at the end of September it was still over 800.

Experts agree that antigen testing could be one reason for the success. Madrid had purchased five million units at the end of September. Test offensives were launched in problem neighborhoods. Although the antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, a larger quantity of virus is required for a positive result. However, experts assure that only very few infections remain undetected.

hp, Source: ORF.at/agencies. Picture: pixabay.com

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