Coronavirus: GPs denounce lack of gear for large-scale testing

Coronavirus: GPs denounce lack of gear for large-scale testing
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General practitioners have not received adequate equipment to test patients for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), an association of doctors unions said Monday.

"I can only regret the fact that general practitioners are receiving no help," the honorary director of the Abysm doctors union, Marc Moens, said.

Ahead of the entry into the first phase of Belgium's deconfinement, GPs received the green light from the government to begin screening patients for Covid-19 as of Monday 4 May.

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But Moens, who on 30 April had already said that GPs had not received equipment and were like "soldiers being sent into battle without arms or ammunition," said that testing swabs and other gear were still nowhere to be seen.

"Triage [testing] centres are well-stocked, swabs and protective equipment arrived in sufficient quantities, but general doctors have not been delivered them," Moens said, Le Vif reports.

Moens said that doctors can only carry out tests if they have received the appropriate swabs from laboratories, and added that doctors were having to equip themselves with protective equipment like visors or medical gowns.

The enlargement of testing capacities in Belgium comes as authorities plough on towards the three dates earmarked for the progressive deconfinement: 4, 11 and 18 May.

Additionally, the enlargement in numbers also comes as the previously stringent criteria to be eligible for a Covid-19 test was also enlarged from 4 May.

The informatics system to centralise the screening information between regions is also not convenient for the scale of testing Belgium was aiming for, Moens said.

The Brussels Times

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