Residents in the neighbourhoods of Torre Baró and Nou Barris will be the first to be tested, followed by residents in the Besós-Maresme and Sant Marti districts on August 17th, reports La Vanguardia.
Both districts have reported an infection rate higher than the average for Barcelona. Since July 1st, Torre Baró has had 1,122 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants and Besós-Maresme has had 837.
Barcelona City Council also plans to extend mass screening to other neighbourhoods.
Talking to La Vanguardia, the third deputy mayor of Barcelona Laia Bonet explained that the city is adjusting to health criteria, but also to “demographic and socioeconomic criteria, which may end up influencing the impact of these outbreaks”.
The government has activated a new strategy to fight the spread of Covid-19 infections in its population. They have said that it’s no longer just a matter of detecting asymptomatic cases, but to make sure that those people stay home for 14 days and quarantine to cut the chain of transmission.
The new strategy also calls upon social associations, neighbourhood leaders, cultural organisers and residents to help stop the spread of the virus and ensure that people comply with the quarantine.
Residents queue for PRC testing in Santa Coloma, Barcelona. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP
The town of Santa Coloma, within the Barcelona Metropolitan area, for example, has encouraged its residents to go for voluntary PRC testing.
“We are very satisfied with the community intervention carried out in the neighbourhoods of Latino and Fondo, in Santa Coloma de Gramanet,” the Health Minister Alba Vergés told La Vanguardia.
In total, 1,500 PCR tests have been performed in Santa Coloma in the last two days, with 1.5 percent of asymptomatic positives.
Mass testing has already been carried out in the nearby Catalan towns of Vilafranca del Penedès, Terrassa, Sabadell, Ripollet and Granollers, where significant numbers of asymptomatic positive infections were detected.
A recent study carried out by the Hospital del Mar Medial Research Institute and the University Institute of Investigations into Primary Care indicated that the areas of Barcelona with the lowest per capita income were the most affected by the first wave of coronavirus.
On August 12th, Catalonia registered 450 new cases confirmed through PCR testing, bringing the total to 88,260 infected. In total 574 people have been hospitalised and 119 of those patients are in the ICU.
There have been eight deaths from Covid-19 recorded in the last 24 hours.