Prime Minister Edi Rama has claimed that Albania is not increasing COVID-19 testing, not because it doesn’t have money, but because the Technical Committee of Experts hasn’t requested it.
The government has been under heavy criticism for the low level of testing, the lowest in Europe. Many of those with symptoms of COVID-19 do not get tested, nor do those who have been in contact with confirmed cases.
During an electoral meeting in Vlora, Rama said the government does have money as it’s providing economic assistance to families in need and paying salary to the Ballsh oil workers, so it’s not an issue of having no money. He claimed that the number of tests done is not an issue in relation to the pandemic and that the Committee of experts has not requested such measures.
Scientists, studies, and national health organisations have repeatedly said that widespread testing is a key part of managing the COVID-19 crisis. Countries that conducted widespread testing have had much more success in controlling the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organisation has called for widespread testing of populations since the beginning of the pandemic
Recently, Slovakia tested the whole country for the virus and found over 57,500 new cases of the virus. Some 3.6 million people were tested using the rapid tests followed by another 2 million. They were able to identify new hotspots of infection and quarantine people, stopping further spreading of the virus.
It’s the first EU nation to do such widespread testing and they saw infection rates drop by more than half. This, said government officials, shows that it’s a very effective tool for fighting the pandemic.