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Lisbon's First 'Drive-thru' Clinic Tests Patients for Coronavirus


Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, top, appears on a screen while holding a videoconference with the special advisory body Council State in the Belem palace in Lisbon, Portugal, March 18, 2020.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, top, appears on a screen while holding a videoconference with the special advisory body Council State in the Belem palace in Lisbon, Portugal, March 18, 2020.

In a redeveloped urban park in Lisbon, a "drive-thru" clinic is performing five-minute swab tests through car windows on people with coronavirus symptoms, as Portuguese authorities ramp up testing facilities to tackle the growing health emergency.

Portugal reported on Thursday 3,544 confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the epidemic, with 60 deaths. That is still far below neighboring Spain or Italy, but the government expects the epidemic only to peak around mid-April.

The model of mobile clinics now popping up across Europe and the Americas began in South Korea in February and has been recommended by the World Health Organization as a way of alleviating pressure on hospitals and reducing the risk of contagion by keeping patients in their cars.

The Lisbon "drive-thru," which opened on Monday and expects to perform 150 tests a day, is one of 10 new testing centers to be launched in coming weeks in Portugal.

Portugal's first such site, in the northern city of Porto where the country's first coronavirus case was detected, started operations last week and now tests about 400 people a day.

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    Reuters

    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.

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