IN a first step towards easing Covid-19 lockdown, Spain is planning to widen coronavirus testing to include people without symptoms.
Spain has the second highest death toll from the global pandemic, with almost 14,700 fatalities.
All the same, the government is keen to relax restrictions after the rate of new infections and deaths slowed down slightly in the last week, giving cause for hope the peak has passed.
Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez told TV station Antena 3 that “we are preparing ourselves for de-escalation for which it is important to know who is contaminated to be able to gradually lift Spanish citizens’ lockdown.”
Until now, only those infected or suspected of having coronavirus have been tested. But, moving forward, the plan is to focus on the wider population to try to find carriers who may not be showing symptoms, said Gonzalez.
Spanish companies are producing 240,000 test kits per week with more bought from abroad.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed at the weekend that the State of Alarm will remain in place until April 26.
But he did say some restrictions may be eased after Easter, for example keeping all non-essential workers at home.
Checkpoints were lifted on Sunday in four hard-hit towns in the northeastern Catalonia region, where there have been more than 100 deaths, according to the health ministry said.