TIRANA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) will provide Albania with 200,000 fast COVID-19 tests, Director of WHO Regional Office for Europe Hans Kluge said here on Thursday.
At a joint press conference with Albanian Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu, Kluge said that the fast tests will be sent to Albania after five to eight weeks.
Kluge said that testing alone is not a "magical" solution to prevent COVID-19 infections, but it takes other important steps, such as tracking and isolation.
Kluge praised the measures taken by the Albanian government to cope with the situation caused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I want to express my gratitude to the Albanian government for the prompt and decisive response to COVID-19. Albania is one of the few countries that did not suffer the first wave, as it immediately decided to impose strict restrictions," Kluge said.
When asked whether Albania will have access to any future COVID-19 vaccine in the same way as other countries, Kluge underlined that all countries should have access to the vaccine, adding that "this will be a test for global solidarity."
On Thursday, Kluge and Manastirliu signed a biennial collaborative agreement, which focuses on strengthening capacities to prevent and cope with the pandemic and improve access to health care.
"The agreement signed is a concrete commitment to support better access to essential services, strengthen the country's capacity to prevent and control the pandemic, strengthen capacities related to innovation and digitalization, and address main health factors in order to make the population healthier," Manastirliu said.
Kluge called the signing of the agreement a positive step in the joint work for welfare and health. He was in Albania for a two-day visit.
On Thursday, health authorities reported 410 new coronavirus cases in Albania, taking the total confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 26,211, with 12,574 recoveries and 598 fatalities.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 3, there were 202 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 47 of them were in clinical trials.