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Coronavirus Ireland: Public will be asked to give blood samples for antibody screening

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Members of the public are to be asked to provide blood samples from next month (Photo by MARIJAN MURAT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the public are to be asked to provide blood samples from next month (Photo by MARIJAN MURAT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Members of the public are to be asked to provide blood samples from next month (Photo by MARIJAN MURAT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the public are to be asked to provide blood samples from next month for a test which can tell them if they have had the coronavirus.

The screening for antibodies - which people who have recovered from the virus build up - is to be carried out at random to give the first indication what the rate of infection is in the population.

Although the number of confirmed cases of the virus stands at 24,315, the real number who have been infected is likely to run into hundreds of thousands, with some scientists believing around 6pc of the population may have had the virus so far.