A popular beach town near Lisbon plans to be the first in Portugal to test all of its 200,000 residents for coronavirus antibodies to try and help them enjoy as normal a summer season as possible despite the crisis.
The municipality of Cascais hopes to conduct 5,000 tests per week in a deal with pharmaceutical firm Roche and two independent private labs. Each test costs five euros ($5.45) and is paid for by the municipality and several patrons, said Cascais’ deputy mayor Miguel Pinto Luz. “These kind of initiatives also increase people’s confidence, which is needed now we are trying to restart the economy,” said Pinto Luz before himself being tested.
Mass antibody testing is being considered by many countries to speed reopening of economies. Portugal, which so far has nearly 30,000 cases and 1,277 deaths, is slowly easing restrictions from a mid-March lockdown. Although the tests show who has been infected by COVID-19, it is not yet clear whether the presence of antibodies confers permanent immunity.