Spain began distributing rapid testing kits on Monday (23 March) in a bid to speed up diagnoses in the most exposed and vulnerable sectors of society, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
The first of these kits will be used on health workers, who make up 11.8% of all COVID-19 cases in Spain, according to Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa.
Illa also told a press conference that a batch of 8,000 items – as part of an order of 640,000 – had already been distributed across the worst-hit Madrid region and that another 50,000, due to arrive on Tuesday (24 March), will be sent across the country.
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The Spanish government has ordered an additional 1 million, which were due to arrive throughout the week, the minister added.
Illa said officials would also focus on older people’s care homes, which were an early hotspot for the virus in Spain and whose residents are particularly vulnerable to the disease it causes, given that almost 90% of the deaths in Spain have been people over 70.