Tracing: Belgians urged to keep track of their close contacts
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    Tracing: Belgians urged to keep track of their close contacts

    These tracers will work to trace the people who have been in contact with confirmed or suspected people infected with the coronavirus. © Belga

    Microbiologist Emmanuel André, one of the experts of the Group of Experts for the Exit Strategy (GEES), has called on people to keep track of the people they have been in close contact with from now on.

    On Sunday night, André called on people to keep a kind of logbook “of people with whom you have close contact, including their telephone numbers” as of Monday, as it should make the work of contact tracers easier.

    These tracers will work to trace the people who have been in contact with confirmed or suspected people infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19). The people identified by the contact tracers will be tested for the virus, and those who test positive will be quarantined for two weeks


    “If you fall ill, those people will then be able to get sufficient guidance,” André wrote.

    Initially, contact tracing was supposed to start on Monday 4 April. In the Brussels Region, a pilot phase has started, and the system is expected to be fully operational on 11 May, when the stores are set to reopen. Wallonia has also started its test phase on Monday, and foresees the start of the next phase “from mid-May.”

    Due to some issues in the search for an external partner to help recruit the 1,200 contact tracers in Flanders, the tracing has not yet started. The Flemish Minister-President, however, said that the system will be “at full capacity” by 11 May.

    On Monday morning, the Belgian ministers in charge of Public Health agreed that from the second half of this week, a call centre will contact coronavirus patients to ask who they have been in close contact with over the past few days, reports De Standaard.

    A form, on which confirmed patients can fill in those contacts, will also be launched.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times