The government is allocating an additional SEK 5.5 billion for testing and infection tracing of the coronavirus.
– We want to send the signal that testing will be important for a long time to come, says Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren (S).
Between 200,000 and 300,000 PCR tests were performed per week during December, and the government wants to see that figure continue to be high. Therefore, SEK 5.5 billion is now being invested in testing and infection tracing, in addition to the two billion that has already been set aside. The vast majority of the money goes to the regions.
– It is important that the regions have the resources to do what we have agreed on, says Lena Hallengren.
Minister: Takes time before we stop testing for covid-19
Investing in testing and infection tracing is important even at this stage of the pandemic, when vaccination has started, according to the Minister of Social Affairs.
– It is easy to believe that we do not need to track infections and test so much when we get started with the vaccinations. But it will take time before we can stop testing for covid-19, says Hallengren.
TT: Does this money mean that more people than today will be able to test themselves?
– 300,000 tests a week is a high level, a level that we are happy to maintain. We do not mind if we can increase the pace, but it is also about what the need and the spread of infection looks like, says Lena Hallengren.
TT: Wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on trying to get more vaccines?
– We use the vaccine we get through the EU. We can not use vaccines that do not exist.
Quick tests are not included
The initiative is part of the first amending budget for 2021, and in addition to infection tracking and PCR tests, also includes antibody tests. However, rapid tests for covid-19 are not covered.
– We get to come back about the quick tests, it is also included in our agreement with the regions, says Lena Hallengren.
A PCR test can be used to examine whether a person has an ongoing covid-19 infection. The test shows if there is genetic material from the virus that causes the infection. PCR testing is what is currently used on a large scale in the country’s laboratories and the sample is taken by healthcare professionals or by yourself through so-called self-sampling.
The regions are responsible for carrying out the testing. How the testing is done in practice differs between the country’s regions depending on how they have chosen to organize the testing activities.
The Swedish Public Health Agency’s mission is to ensure flows for large-scale testing for covid-19 throughout the country. The assignment includes coordinating regions, municipalities and other actors needed for sampling and testing to work.
Source: Swedish Public Health Agency
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