EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca delivered today samples of COVID-19 testing control material to the Institute of Public Health of Albania, the country’s Covid-19 testing authority. The donation is part of the broader EU assistance to Albania to fight COVID-19. The newly-designed control material is being used by laboratories in the EU to check the correct functioning of the coronavirus tests. The kits donated to Albania will allow an increased accuracy of up to 20,000 COVID-19 testing kits. The kits are key in avoiding false negative testing resultsand particularly important in a moment when public authorities are considering softening some restrictions to freedom of movement. These kits have been developed by the EU’s Joint Research Center and are being donated to EU partners in the Western Balkans .
The European Union is supporting Albania with EUR 50 million to fight COVID-19. EUR 4 million have already been contracted for the supply of immediate life-saving medical equipment. The EU has partnered with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)so that this support delivers the needed items as soon as possible. The items include ventilators, ambulances, mobile x-rays, Intensive Care Units beds, protective material for healthcare workers.
Additionally, the EU law enforcement programme, PAMECA, donated 3,000 hand sanitisers to the Albanian police.
The EU will also provide EUR 46.7 million to support social and economic recovery.
At the macro-economic level, an additional amount of EUR 180 million will be made available to Albania in the form of highly favorable loans. The aim of these funds is to contribute to enhancing macro-economic stability to allow resources to be channeled towards protecting citizens and mitigating the consequences of COVID-19.
EU Ambassador to Albania, Luigi Soreca, stressed: “The European Commission stepped up to the global challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak with a very ambitious response package of more than €15.6 billion. While the European Union is doing the utmost to support its citizens, it is also our duty to assist our partners and friends. The impact on our partners in the Western Balkans, is likely to be dramatic. We will continue to work together with Albanian authorities to tackle those shared challenges.”
Western Balkans partners, including Albania, have been already exempted from export authorisation for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The region, including Albania, has been associated to EU initiatives such as the Joint Procurement Agreement for medical equipment and the European rapid alert system for communicable diseases.
A recent EU survey identified the lack of positive control materialsas one of the top three challenges faced by laboratories for the reliable implementation of coronavirus tests. A positive control material guarantees that laboratory tests are working correctly. It helps to avoid that a test could give a negative result if the person is positive. The newly-designed control material is a synthetic, non-infectious part of the virus. The samples are highly concentrated and only a very small quantity of the material is required to check one test. This means that one sample tube is enough for one laboratory to check up to 20,000 tests.
For additional information on EU’s Joint Research Centre please visit: https://crm.jrc.ec.europa.eu