Ten times more tests a month than at beginning of pandemic

  • Lusa
  • 4 November 2020

Last month, Portugal carried out 10 times more diagnostic tests for the new coronavirus than in March.

In October Portugal carried out 10 times more diagnostic tests for the new coronavirus than in March, according to the president of the National Institute of Health, Ricardo Jorge, who predicts that in November there will be more than 805,000 tests.

In an online seminar organised by Apifarma, Fernando Almeida said that since March, testing has increased massively. What began by being exclusive to the Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge, has since been extended to private and laboratories of academic institutions.

Fernando Almeida said that it is always necessary to test with criteria, otherwise, it would be a waste of time and money.

While in March there were an average of 2,500 tests a day, currently that average is around 26,000 tests, and the two to three days it took to get results could be reduced to around 20 minutes with rapid antigen tests.

The president of the Portuguese Society of Laboratory Medicine, João Faro Viana, pointed out that these rapid tests are equivalent to pregnancy tests, can be done by anyone, aimed at being done outside laboratories but, also, for this reason, susceptible to difficulties in the collection, which can make confirmation of results not so rapid.

Doctor Ricardo Mexia, president of the National Association of Public Health Doctors, pointed out that it is not possible today to investigate outbreaks without resorting to laboratory techniques and stressed that rapid tests, alongside other tests, such as PCR or serological tests, can have their role and be of extreme utility, but used in a complementary way.

The vice-president of the Apifarma Diagnostic Commission, Pedro Pereira, said that the Covid-19 pandemic had given unprecedented visibility to the area of diagnosis, underlining that testing will be one of the words most used this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused more than 1.2 million deaths and more than 46.9 million cases of infection worldwide, according to the French agency AFP.

In Portugal, 2,635 people have died out of 149,443 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent health authority (DGS) bulletin.