Mass testing at elderly and nursing homes

The government has approved mass testing for Covid-19 at elderly and nursing homes - it should start next week and repeat weekly.

So-called antigen tests will be used. They can turn around results in roughly 15 minutes and are cheaper than the commonly used PCR method.

However, speed comes with tradeoffs and according to a study by the Charles University in Prague and the Motol Hospital, about a third of those infected receive a false negative result. That is why in facilities where the coronavirus will be detected, PCR tests will be used to confirm the results.

The number of care facilities where the infection occurred is growing. Only this month, tests have confirmed the infection in 25,000 people over the age of 65. Seniors now make up 14% of total Covid-19 cases in the Czech Republic.

According to the Minister of Health Roman Prymula (for ANO), this regular testing should involve 80,000 to 100,000 clients of the facilities and about the same number of employees - a total of circa 200,000 people.

The antigen tests will now also be used by general practitioners who should start testing their patients with Covid-19 symptoms. According to the Minister of Health, this should relieve the sampling points and laboratories.