The Spanish government plans to test 30,000 families to discover the spread of the Global Coronavirus pandemic and if containment can be lifted
SPAIN’S government is to launch an epidemiological sampling ‘in the coming weeks’ to find out how many people have coronavirus in the country. According to a document from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) the Executive intends to diagnose 62,400 people, that is, about 30,000 families. Each household member will be tested and, if the result is negative, a real-time PCR will be performed, the most reliable test. The system will be repeated after 21 days. This measure will serve to determine the percentage of the population suffering from the disease and, from there, decide what containment measures can be lifted, and in what way.
María José Sierra, from Ministry of Health, said: “One of the strategies that we are going to develop is going to be knowing how the virus is circulating in Spain, which patients have already passed the disease, how it has circulated among the population. For this, we are designing important prevalence studies and we will also use the rapid tests.”
With both tests, it will be assessed whether there are infected individuals in the participating homes and whether it is necessary to isolate them, either in a room in the home itself or in a public facility.
To select the participating households, the ISCIII will require the help of the National Statistics Institute (INE), while the collaboration of the different communities will be necessary to carry out the tests and PCR. However, in principle, it will not be necessary for health personnel to perform it since only a finger prick is needed. Although the study will be voluntary, ISCIII expects high participation due to social awareness on this topic.
María José Sierra explained on Tuesday that the sampling “is being designed at this time” so that it is “broad and representative of the population” and “gives us information on what percentage the disease has already passed and is immune.”