Italian province undertakes mass testing for coronavirus

Rome, Nov 21 : Italy’s northern Alto Adige province has launched a mass coronavirus screening programme, officials said.

The Alto Adige province is a part of Italy’s Trentino Alto Adige region, which shares a northern border with Germany and Austria.

The region has a population of just over one million, according to January 1, 2019 data from the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT).

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The Alto Adige province has a population of over 530,000, and the plan is to screen 350,000 people by Sunday, local authorities said.

The province reported 11,511 positive Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.

This compares to 3,004 new infections confirmed on Friday in the other half of the region, which has a population of over 540,000, according to ISTAT, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The incidence of infections has reached such proportions that it has made an important joint action necessary,” Alto Adige authorities said on the province’s official website.

The mass screening programme, which runs from Friday to Sunday, is free, voluntary and open to anyone aged five years and older.

People can get their results within 30 minutes of being tested, and anyone testing positive will have to quarantine at home for 10 days, the authorities explained.

The mass screening “can help us identify unknown sources of the infection … in order to stop the virus from spreading further,” the authorities said.

“Every single person … can contribute to this initiative. The objective is to recover personal freedom, education and work, wherever limitations are in place. This is a great opportunity,” the authorities stressed.

So far, over 82,000 people got tested and 1,256 turned out positive, according to the province’s website, which is publishing a running tally.

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