The Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services, on Monday said it began a study to determine how widely COVID-19 has spread in the country.

The study will extend testing to 36,000 households with 2.5 family members in each on average in 50 provinces across the country, with the aim of obtaining an accurate picture of the epidemic.

Health Minister Salvador Illa told a press conference on Sunday.

The project, which contains 60,000-90,000 tests, will be carried out in three stages.

The first-stage testing will focus on detecting antibodies to the virus, Illa said, adding that the tests are just a prick in a finger and will offer immediate results.

The second-stage study will include a complete blood analysis to detect the magnitude of the respondents’ immune response, he said.

As the country has been in lockdown for more than six weeks, the study will help reveal the dynamic evolution of the illness as well as the virus’s transmission ability within households, the minister said.

According to data published by the ministry on Monday, Spain has reported 209,465 cases and 23,521 deaths, and the numbers of new deaths and cases continue to decline. (Xinhua/NAN)

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