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Dutch government has purchased 1 million coronavirus blood tests - health minister

FILE PHOTO: Newly appointed Health Minister Hugo De Jonge, who is taking over the function from Bruno Bruins since he resigned during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, attends a joint news conference Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Hague, Netherlands March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government has purchased 1 million blood tests that can show whether a person has been infected with the coronavirus, the health minister said on Tuesday.

“With this, we can conduct research among the people to get insight into how the coronavirus has spread and how antibodies develop,” Hugo de Jonge said in a statement.

The tests will be carried out by blood donation organisation Sanquin, which last month used blood samples to estimate 3% of the Dutch population had so far had the virus.

As of Tuesday there were 41,087 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands, with 5,168 deaths, according to the country’s Institute for Health.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Chris Reese