As the center of Russia’s Covid-19 epidemic, Moscow is certainly taking it seriously. Today, the capital starts a random screening system throughout the city and, by the end of May, will have the capacity to test 200,000 a day.
According to Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, the Moscow administration has implemented a brand-new method of assessing the city’s residents. The new tests will discover how many Muscovites possess Covid-19 antibodies, enabling authorities to determine the number of people in the capital to have already recovered from the virus, including those who were asymptomatic.
Writing on his personal blog, the mayor explained that testing would be carried out at 30 clinics across the capital. Every few days, the city government will invite approximately 70 thousand Muscovites to take a blood sample. They will be chosen randomly and will be representative of the city’s age demographics.
The mayor believes that this mass, random testing system will enable the city to get a clearer picture of Moscow’s coronavirus reality. At the end of each week, the administration will publish the results of the screening, enabling the authorities to use the data to “make informed decisions” without “jeopardizing the life and health of people.”
Moscow clinics will be utilizing a testing system known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). ELISA facilitates the detection of both antibodies and immunity by testing a patient’s blood. By the end of the month, Moscow’s total capacity for analyzing ELISA tests will exceed 200,000 per day.
Sobyanin explained how “decisions to impose and abolish restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic are the most difficult that [he had] to make in [his] entire life.”
“Premature removal of restrictions carries a real risk of a second pandemic. Unjustified delaying will also hit people most strongly,” he said. Earlier, in a TV interview with Russia-24, the mayor suggested that the capital would continue for a week or two in the same self-isolation conditions.
As of Friday morning, Russia has conducted 6.4 million tests, and only the USA has carried out more. So far, it has 262,843 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2,418 citizens have died.