Finland rolls out random nationwide testing for coronavirus antibodies

Finland rolls out random nationwide testing for coronavirus antibodies
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Finnish health officials will begin offering voluntary tests for coronavirus antibodies this week as the country seeks to determine how many asymptomatic carriers may be in the country.

News site YLE reported that the country's top health authority, the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) will begin offering tests to as many as 750 people per week in the coming days. The tests will first be available in the country's capital city of Helsinki and the surrounding areas, where Finland has reported the most cases.

"The idea is to get a picture of the situation across the entire country," a THL official, Jussi Sane, told YLE. "The results of the study is one part of assessing the epidemic and will also affect [shelter-in-place and other] restrictions as well as when they can be lifted."

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A research specialist with THL added that the test results were less important for those asymptomatic carriers of the disease, but more important for government officials trying to stop the disease from spreading.

"Thanks to this research we can get the kind of information that's important for everyone. The results perhaps are not that important for individuals, but considering the country’s health as a whole, it is good to know who has been infected," Merit Melin told the news service.

Individuals invited to participate will reportedly be chosen at random, and the program will initially only target working-age citizens.

Finland has confirmed more than 2,300 cases of the disease, with just 34 deaths reported from the virus inside the country.