Around 12.5% of Moscow's residents – or around 1.5 million people – are estimated to have the antibody for coronavirus, the city's health authorities said Saturday, following screening involving more than 50,000 residents over the past two weeks.
The Russian capital on May 15 formally launched a massive free coronavirus screening program, selecting Moscow residents at random to visit one of 30 city clinics for the free antibody tests. The city has also been screening medical workers and patients for antibodies.
The results of the study pointed to a possible easing of lockdown measures in the city, according to a statement from Alexey Khripun, the head of the city's health department.
"Such a percentage of immunity among Muscovites may point to a softening of the regime of self-isolation," Khripun said. "Yesterday the mayor of Moscow decided to expand planned medical treatment. This is an example of how Moscow will gradually move away from a strict regime of self-isolation."
Authorities in Moscow said the screening program is designed to better inform measures taken to contain the epidemic. The statement from the city’s health officials said the results were "comparable to cities that were among the first to encounter the virus," comparing Moscow’s results to those in Madrid.