Iohannis: Coronavirus testing capacity unchanged at 50,000 a day because it hit the limit

President Klaus Iohannis said today that the coronavirus testing capacity remained unchanged this month at around 50,000 tests a day, because the upper limit has been reached, and that the limitation is doubled by the lack of equipment and specialized personnel. "The number of tests is determined by demand: either official requests from the Public Health Directorates, or from individuals who want to be tested for various reasons. The maximum capacity is around 50,000; speaking about PCR tests, this number has not changed in the last month for the mere reason that the maximum capacity has been reached, and there's a double limitation - equipment-related - which would be relatively easy to fix, as one could buy more devices, but also staff-related, because the personnel that collects the samples and processes the tests is specialized and the cap has been hit here, there are simply no more professionals," the head of the state told a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace.   He affirmed that however the positivity rate has increased from 10 percent to 30 percent, which shows how the pandemic is spreading. "But there is however a glimmer of hope, to put it this way. Those rapid antigen tests have started to appear and I think they are a solution, at least for the localities or areas where a lot of cases occur. We ordered and received the first set of such tests, which have been deployed to emergency units, ambulances and so on. It's still a relatively small number. A tender has already been launched for approximately 3 million tests and the procurement of such kits will continue. Both WHO and ECDC - the competent European institute - recommendations are for testing to be done where a lot of cases occur, especially in quarantined areas, and that's what we are headed for. I hope the relevant purchase is done in due time. It's a method that will for sure significantly increase the number of tests and give us a clearer picture of the spread of the pandemic," Iohannis explained. Asked why the rapid antigen-based tests have not been used so far, Iohannis replied that "they are relatively new. Some are in the process of approval at European level, others have been approved at national level. There was also the Slovakian experiment, but they procured the tests via direct relationship with the producing country, not through the European bodies. (...) They have only been around for a few weeks. Things are moving very fast in this area, but not from one day to the other and we are interested and we will continue this process." AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Andreea Rotaru; EN - editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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