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Friday, September 18, 2020

Double free coronavirus testing for everybody in Andorra

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The Principality of Andorra is a sovereign landlocked microstate with an area of just 468 square kilometers and about 77,500 inhabitants. Located between France and Spain, both neighbors are jointly responsible for its defense. Catalan became the only official language after a constitution was approved by referendum in 1993.

Andorra the same year also joined the United Nations and step by step has established diplomatic relations with many countries, though currently it merely has embassies in Brussels, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Vienna and Washington. It did not have an official currency before adopting the euro between 1999 and 2002, but isn’t a member of the European Union.

The current pandemic has affected Andorra significantly, resulting in one of the world’s highest death rates per capita. Therefore, the government at the beginning of May announced a plan to have all the population tested for coronavirus at no cost and not only once, but twice. According to Health Minister Joan Martínez, so far about 13,000 people underwent the procedure and 1,500 volunteers are in charge to test the rest before the middle of May. Two weeks later, there will be a second round for all Andorrans and the results made public.

The idea of a national de-escalation plan based on house numbering seems quite exceptional as well. Those living in dwellings that have even numbers will be allowed to go outside on even days, and vice versa. Furthermore, a security distance of four meters has been established, the use of surgical masks is mandatory, and all activities have to take place within a strict time frame. Tiny Andorra is indeed making big efforts to get back to normal as soon as possible.

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