Czech officials said on Wednesday they plan to test 5,000 people without coronavirus symptoms to get an idea of the real incidence of the disease within the EU member’s population.
“We are considering a representative sample of about 5,000 people, probably in Prague, to get an idea of how many symptomless people have actually had the disease,” Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula told state television.
The test will be based on antibody response so as to also detect the virus in healthy individuals. Speaking separately to state radio, Prymula said he also wanted to test the citizens of an eastern region that was under complete lockdown for two weeks, adding that this testing could already begin this week.
“We have already supplied 22,000 testing kits. We want to know how many people actually got infected,” Prymula said. There are 3,508 confirmed cases of the virus, including 61 cured patients and 39 deaths.
Prymula said he expects 8,000-13,000 confirmed cases around mid-April as testing speeds up.
On Tuesday, the number of coronavirus cases increased by 307, a 10 percent increase that also coincided with the highest number of tests carried out in one day, with over 6,200 tests administered.
Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch considers the increase in the number of tests very positive.
“The Czech Republic is above average in terms of the number of tests,” he said, adding that testing is currently one of the government’s priorities.