As Europe grapples with the ever-growing surge in COVID-19 cases, Malta continues to maintain its rigorous testing strategy, having the second-highest number of tests per capita.

According to data compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), for the week ending on October 11, Malta’s testing rate stood at 3,335.97 tests per 100,000 people.

Only Luxembourg’s rate was higher, at 6,452.58 tests per 100,000 people.

In the week under review, Malta’s health authorities carried out some 16,465 tests. Since the start of the pandemic earlier in the year, a total of 308,790 swab tests have been carried out. This figure includes repeat tests.

The data is supplied to the centre by the Maltese health authorities.

Malta carried out 13th highest number of tests in the world

A look at the bigger picture also shows Malta’s swabbing rate to be among the top in the world. According to official data, Malta has carried out the 13th highest number of tests in the world at 692,089 tests per one million people. In the 24 hours up to noon on Thursday, during which time 111 new cases were detected, the health authorities carried out 2,951 tests, one of the highest carried out so far.

The health authorities have repeatedly said they want to continue testing as many people as possible as this is one of the crucial ways to control the spread. Malta currently has six swabbing centres – at Mater Dei, Luqa, Luxol, Qormi, Burmarrad and Gozo. In recent days, and as the number of people with the virus spiked, delays have been reported, with asymptomatic patients often being given an appointment days after requesting one.

The authorities insist symptomatic patients are still being given priority.

As from next week, Malta’s testing strategy will shift to also include rapid tests which are being introduced on October 28. These will be used mainly at the airport and at hospitals.

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