Monaco’s elected National Council has demanded that testing for coronavirus be made available for many more people than those working on the frontline in healthcare, and that tests should be extended to the entire population of the Principality.

The Council’s representatives at Monday’s joint meeting with the Government called for tests to be extended, in the first case, to anyone working in contact with the public, including traders and cashiers in supermarkets.

In a press statement issued on Monday evening, the National Council also called “for the massive supply of masks to all the population and as soon as possible. The feeling of insecurity generated by the persistent shortage of masks in pharmacies has lasted too long.”

The Council criticised the Minister of Social Affairs and Health who said at a meeting on March 19 that he did not have to answer to the National Council. The Monaco Red Cross succeeded in importing masks, the Council said.

In Monaco, with its 37,000 inhabitants, “the massive supply of protective masks must be the rule.” The National Council also called for a policy of mass screening. As the World Health Organisation recommends: “test, test, test!”

The press release went on to call for the testing of all residents and workers in the Principality. “All mass screening policies have proven effective elsewhere in the world,” the Council said.

At present tests are reserved for symptomatic caregivers and symptomatic patients with an associated disease. “In fact, this restriction is only justified by the shortage, as protective masks were deemed unnecessary because there was a shortage. How can you explain to a patient who has a cough and a fever that the test is not for him and that he can go home with Doliprane?”

“Our country must have an autonomous generalised screening policy,” the Council said.