A Russian plane at Mallorca airport with medical supplies. Photo credit: Manu Mielniezuk, courtesy of Diario de Ibiza

As we enter the third week of lockdown, experts predict that Spain and Italy may be reaching their peak in the number of cases but the WHO warn that not enough tests are being carried out.

The World Health Organisation commented that to ‘in order to reduce the number of infections, it is not enough to keep the population isolated. They should continue to carry out diagnostic tests.’

WHO’s Director of Emergencies Mike Ryan said, “Everyone talks about the curve and stabilisation, but the question is how to get numbers down. For that it is not enough to lock up the population, they also need to redouble public health efforts and that is what countries have to focus on”.

WHO’s Technical Director of the Health Emergencies Program, Maria Vankerhove has underlined the need for countries to use the confinement time frame to intensively search for Covid-19 cases, isolating and treating the infected.

The WHO recommends testing until only 10% of the population tests positive for Covid-19. 

Balearics Receive 10,000 Kits

The Balearic Government has reported it has 10,000 testing kits available which will be distributed throughout hospitals. These kits have been tested and verified by the Microbiology Laboratory at Son Espases. The testing kits will not be used for the ‘general population’ but for suspected Covid-19 patients already in hospital. 

Faulty Testing Kits

The WHO’s recommendations of testing the population will be hindered following the news last Friday that the first batch of rapid testing kits from a Chinese company are defective. 640,000 testing kits were bought by the Spanish Government with 58,000 kits arriving in Spain last week. However, Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa stated that the first few kits “have not passed the quality controls” after several microbiology laboratories in large hospitals detected that they were not working well.

The Chinese manufacturer will accept their return and replace them with new kits. The kits, made by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology do have the European Unions CE approval. Sources consulted by Efe have indicated that there are no irregularities in the company itself and that it is possible there could have been “some misunderstanding regarding their use”. 

7 Million Infected?

The Imperial College have released a paper that indicates up to 7 million people could be infected with Covid-19 in Spain. Researchers from the British university have calculated that the ‘estimated true number of infections’ stands at 15% of the population – 7 million people. If these findings are correct, it would mean that the fatality rate in Spain is lower than believed and that the vast majority of cases are asymptomatic or that people would have suffered very mild symptoms.  

You can read their full report following the link below.