Antwerp hospital tests suspected coronavirus patient, despite expected 'false alarm'

Antwerp hospital tests suspected coronavirus patient, despite expected 'false alarm'
The infection continues to crop up across Europe. Credit: © Belga

A patient who was suspected of being infected with the coronavirus in the ZNA Stuivenberg hospital in Antwerp, is being tested for the virus, according to the hospital.

"On Thursday, a patient, who had been to China and had viral symptoms, had been admitted to our hospital," Renée Willems, a spokesperson for the ZNA Stuivenberg hospital, told The Brussels Times. "We were then able to confirm to several media that the patient would be tested for the coronavirus," she added.

However, after it was confirmed that the patient had been in China, but not in the affected province, the FPS Public Health confirmed to the Belga press agency that it was "a false alarm."

"There is only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Belgium, and that patient is currently in the St Pieter's Hospital in Brussels," Jan Eyckmans, the spokesperson for the FPS told The Brussels Times, adding that over 80 cases of people who were at risk of being infected have been sent to the laboratory to be tested, and they all came back negative.

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Despite the FPS' douts, the hospital kept the patient in isolation, and carried out a number of checks to make sure he was not suffering from the ordinary flu.

"The patient has not been in the affected province, but he might have had contact with someone who had been there, on the plane," said Willems. "In the late evening, we consulted with the authorities again, and it was decided to have the patient tested for coronavirus after all. The results will be in this afternoon," she added.

However, since the patient has not been to the affected area, the risk of infection remains low, stressed Eyckmans. "Then again, better too many tests than not enough," he added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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