From: Exit Staff
Exit Explains: Albanian Government Triples COVID-19 Testing, but Is It Enough?

The Albanian Institute of Public Health has tripled the number of COVID-19 tests it conducts when compared to the first four months of the pandemic. They are now conducting between 1330 and 1400 tests a day, according to Dr Eugena Tomini for the show ‘In a few words‘.

“The IPH has borne the extraordinary weight of this pandemic, being supported by the microbiological laboratory at QSUT. Between August and Now, we have a very small percentage being tested in a private laboratory,” she said.

Tomini added that any samples with a positive result from a non-public laboratory are then tested again by the IPH.

“They are tested at the IPH and then are considered positive if we have the same diagnosis with the non-public laboratory.”

She added that the autumn-winter strategy will include a further increase in testing capacities as the arrival of the influenza season makes it harder to distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory infections.

Albania ranks last in the region and Europe for the number of tests being conducted on citizens. A top priority according to the WHO and all Western countries, so far numbers are not high enough to give a proper picture of the pandemic situation in the country.

So far, some 111,000 tests have been conducted, equivalent to 3.87% of the population. The percentage is likely even lower as there are people that have done the test more than once. This is the lowest rate in Europe with just 39 tests per 1000 inhabitants.

The WHO states that an efficient testing system should test between 10-30 people for every infected person. Albania tests only 6.

In fact, Exit has been made aware of numerous cases where those coming into contact with people who have tested positive, have been refused testing by the Ministry. This includes children at two schools, those working in an office with someone who tested positive, and even family members of a positive individual.

In fact, the government have given millions of euros to a concession company to analyze members of the public. The problem is that during the pandemic, they have not yet done any testing for COVID-19.

Instead, several private laboratories have been licensed to carry out testing at EUR 100 per COVID-19 test and EUR 30 per serological test. Although they are licensed by the Ministry to do the tests, the government does not recognise the results and insists on doing the test again to confirm the virus.

It seems strange that the government has provided licenses to laboratories to conduct tests at the highest prices in the region, yet does not recognise the results.