30,000 Stockholmers sign up for free coronavirus tests

30,000 Stockholmers sign up for free coronavirus tests
Stockholmers are now able to book a free coronavirus test – as long as the app does not crash. Photo: TT
Despite the booking app crashing under the pressure, in the end around 30,000 Stockholmers managed to register for a coronavirus test on the first day of the region's new bid to offer free tests to all residents.

Around 25,000 signed up for an antibody test on Monday, which is meant to show whether you have had the coronavirus and developed antibodies. The remaining 5,000 booked a diagnostic test, which can tell you if you are currently infected with the virus.

Stockholm announced last week that everyone in the region would be able to book a test for free, but warned that demand was likely to be high so there might be a wait. Region Stockholm said it would release new booking slots each week, and warned “many residents will have to wait a bit before they can have their test”.

And indeed, on Monday morning the app for booking tests, ironically called 'Always Open', had crashed even before 9am when booking for the tests was intended to begin.

Many who tried to log into the app were met by the message 'There is currently a problem connecting to the server', and users reported that the issue continued throughout the day. Some of The Local's readers also emailed to say they had found it difficult to access information in English when trying to book a test.

People who need medical care, or who work in the healthcare sector or another socially important function (such as police officers and emergency responders) will still be prioritised for testing, although people in priority groups will be referred for a test in other ways.

Sweden's testing rate is well below both the level of neighbouring countries and its own goal of carrying out 100,000 weekly tests by mid-May. 

The government in early June announced a major overhaul of testing, giving regions nearly 6 billion kronor to extend coronavirus tests, and the Public Health Agency's general director said regions should aim to be offering tests to anyone with symptoms by June 13th, when restrictions on domestic travel were lifted.

If you have the antibody, it means you have been infected with the coronavirus and that your immune system produced this protein in order to fight off the virus.

Antibodies often mean you are immune from the particular virus they developed to protect you from. But scientists still don't know if that's the case with the coronavirus, because it's a new disease. So researchers are still working to find out if having the antibody does provide you with immunity, and if so, what level of immunity and for how long. 


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