Beginning on Monday, April 6, a new collection point set up to aid in the testing of people for the novel coronavirus will open in Prague.
On its own initiative, the city of Prague will launch operations of the collection point on the Prague Exhibition Grounds in Holešovice. It will serve clients who have been sent to the testing point by a general practitioner or hygienist. People will be able to use the collection point in drive-thru mode on weekdays.
The aim is to provide additional sampling capacities, increase the number of people tested, and allow sampling of people directly from their cars, in order to keep contact minimal. The site will be operated by the Prague Municipal Health Center.
“I am pleased to be able to inform [people] about the new collection point, which was established by the City of Prague on its own initiative,” said Mayor Zdeněk Hřib in a press statement. “The collection point is located on the grounds of the Prague Exhibition Grounds in Holešovice and will operate from Monday, April 6. The main goal is to provide and increase capacity for collection.”
The so-called drive-thru mode limits the possibility of transmitting the disease, as sampling is performed directly from the vehicle of the incoming client.
The capital is asking everyone to comply with the rules of the service.
Testing will be allowed only to clients designated by a GP or hygienist, so they must show a paper or electronic request or collection recommendation when entering the premises. In addition to the application form, which can be a paper, electronic or SMS message, people must show a health insurance card, identity card, and bring their own pen.
The city is also asking clients not to bring children under the age of 10 years for whom drive-thru examination is problematic.
“It turns out that Prague is able to mobilize capacities and help improve the plight of population testing,” said Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček. “However, we are faced with limited capacities on the part of the state, which cannot provide the necessary number of certified laboratories for the evaluation of samples.” Hlubuček added that according to the World Health Organization, testing is essential for controlling the spread of the epidemic.
The operation of the site is provided by the Municipal Polyclinic Prague together with the Prague Exhibition Center, the Czech Red Cross, medical staff, and medical students. Opening hours are set for working days from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. The last car will be admitted to the premises so that the last client is served at 6 pm. It is not permitted to get out of the car while arrival by car is required according to instructions established by the Czech Red Cross and medical staff.
Patients may also be driven to the site by someone who is not participating in testing. Another Prague collection point is being prepared by the city at Žluté lázně beach club, in cooperation with the Czech Army.
“In the case of Žluté lázně, we have to wait for the Ministry of Health to expand its laboratory capacities for diagnostics. So the expansion of sites depends mainly on the fact that there is not enough labs to evaluate the tests,” said councilor Milena Johnová.
In addition, Prague has sent out four mobile collection units via emergency ambulance vehicles and municipal police, which are taking samples from people at home.