Covid-19: Belgium decides to stop testing contact cases

Belgians are waiting to be able to be tested in their cars on October 20, 2020 in Antwerp.

AP Photo / Virginia Mayo

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2 min

Faced with the saturation of laboratories, the Belgian health authorities have decided to only test people with symptoms.


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With our correspondent in Brussels,

Pierre Bénazet

Now in Belgium, contact cases will therefore have to undergo a quarantine of seven days.

The same goes for travelers returning from an area classified as red outside Belgium, whereas screening was compulsory until now.

Belgium will first screen those who show symptoms and then only certain asymptomatic ones, those for whom there is reason to believe that they could be carriers.

This is already the practice in some hospitals since last week, such as in Liège where the results took three to four days while the national target is 24 hours.

Lack of personnel and machinery

The measure is therefore generalized and it is now the new health strategy for Belgium.

What gets stuck in Belgium is logistics.

The stocks of reagents necessary for the tests are sufficient but the analytical capacities, both in personnel and in machines, are lacking.

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The federal government did not want to waive the obligation of calls for tenders for public contracts, which delays the promised arrival of the machines intended for the federal screening platform.

New infections have increased by 70% compared to last week and new hospital admissions by 95%.

Some hospitals have started to deprogram non-urgent operations and in one of them there is now open concern that they will soon have to choose who to save.

Federal Minister of Health Franck Vandenbroucke judges that the Belgian health situation is worse than at the start of the first wave.

According to him, it is " 

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  • Belgium

  • Coronavirus

  • Health and medicine