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Coronavirus: massive screening campaign for Moscow

Credit: Belga

Moscow will launch a massive screening campaign to establish the real level of coronavirus infections and the presence of antibodies among its population, officials announced on Thursday.

70,000 Muscovites will be randomly selected every three days to carry out this study, the scope of which is “unique in the world” according to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

This will allow officials to know “exactly how many Muscovites are infected with the coronavirus and how many have developed immunity,” Sobyanin said, and, most importantly, to know the “real dynamic of the spread of the disease,” he added.

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The campaign is aimed at detecting “the presence or absence of antibodies” among Moscow’s inhabitants, a crucial element in achieving so-called collective immunity, said the mayor’s deputy for social issues, Anastasia Rakova.

Personal results will be communicated to each individual along with doctors’ recommendations, while the overall results of the study will be made public and taken into account in decisions on whether to lift the lockdown and other restrictions in place in Moscow until 31 May.

Russia has been screening its population for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) for weeks now, with more than six milllion tests carried out to date in an effort to isolate people who are infected but don’t have symptoms in order to curb the pandemic.

Russia is the world’s second-most affected country in terms of the number of infections (over 252,000) and has counted 2,305 deaths as of Thursday according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Belgium has counted 54,644 confirmed coronavirus cases and 8,959 deaths as of Friday.

The Brussels Times