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    Nursing homes tested from end of the week

    Credit: Belga

    Starting at the end of this week, nursing home residents who show symptoms of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) will be able to be tested, Minister Philippe De Backer said Wednesday.

    In total, more than 20,000 tests are expected to be carried out in nursing homes across the country.

    According to recent reports, over a third of all nursing homes in Brussels has been affected by the coronavirus. The 146 nursing homes in the regional territory are required to report to authorities any suspected cases among staff or residents.

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    According to the latest figures on Friday, 53 homes had reported at least one suspected case of the virus, as previously reported. “42 residents have tested positive and another 218 are suspected to be infected,” cabinet staff member Miguel Lardinois said, adding that around half of them had been hospitalised.

    Last month Femarbel, the professional federation for nursing homes, warned of “a ticking time-bomb that can go off at any moment,” calling on tests for staff members as a matter of urgency. 

    The capacity to carry out tests has meanwhile been increased to more than 4,000 per day. This number will rise sharply in the coming days, the cabinet adds. The goal is to eventually reach 10,000 tests per day.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times