MADRID (Reuters) - Health authorities in Madrid began mass testing hundreds of young people for COVID-19 at universities on Wednesday to detect asymptomatic carriers in one of the groups with the highest rates of transmission.
With the country in the grip of a third wave of infection, authorities called on young people to attend makeshift medical centres at nine university campuses to take a rapid antigen test.
Jesus Jimenez, 21, whose grandmother died of coronavirus in a nursing home, took a test at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Mostoles, a satellite town southwest of Madrid. "Everything is looking dark. I'm afraid I'll find myself in the same situation as I was in the first and second waves," he said, after receiving a negative result.
Jimenez called on young people to act responsibly to bring down infections but lamented the loss of close contact as a result of the pandemic.
"I miss sensations: the joy of going out in the street, being able to give a hug, being able to kiss, I miss relatives who are not with us anymore," he said, urging young people to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
Spain's nationwide incidence of the virus as measured over the past 14 days reached a new high of 736 cases per 100,000 people on Wednesday and hit 790 in Madrid. That figure rose to over 1,100 cases per 100,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24.
(Reporting by Elena Rodriguez and Michael Gore; Writing by Emma Pinedo; Editing by Nathan Allen and Giles Elgood)