Spain starts a wide-ranging antibody test

Spain hopes that a wide-ranging antibody testing campaign, which started on Monday and to last several weeks, will help it realize the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Around 90,000 residents from 36,000 households are to be given two different tests, a process to be repeated twice at three-week intervals. Participation in the nationwide study is voluntary.

Health authorities hope to glean information on the transmission of the virus in private households after six weeks' lockdown.

Europe's hardest-hit country, Italy, announced a similar plan at the weekend, dpa reported. From 4 May, it is to carry out antibody tests on around 150,000 people in order to get a truer picture of case numbers. Germany, which has suffered relatively lightly, plans to follow suit. The tests allow experts to find out if a person has already been infected with coronavirus and subsequently developed antibodies, so that people who have had the virus but shown few or zero symptoms can be identified.

The latest infection figures in Spain have given cause for hope. Monday was the fourth day in a row on which more recoveries than new infections were reported.

The number of confirmed cases was nearly 210,000, while more than 100,000 people have recovered. The number of deaths connected to Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus, in 24 hours rose by 331 to 23,500, according to Spain's Health Ministry.

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