Belgium adapts quarantine rules as asymptomatic tests resume

Belgium adapts quarantine rules as asymptomatic tests resume
© Eric Lalmand/Belga

Belgium's quarantine rules are set to change again from Monday as the government begins allowing asymptomatic people to be tested for the new coronavirus again.

From 23 November, Covid-19 tests will resume for people who do not have any symptoms but have had a high-risk contact or returned from a red-travel zone, following their suspension to ease pressure on labs.

Asymptomatic people will have to get tested seven days after they were in contact with an infected person and quarantine at least until they receive their test results back.

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If, for instance, an asymptomatic person is notified on Wednesday that they were in contact with someone who tested positive on Monday, the new rules mean they would have to go get tested the following Monday, a full week after the risky contact.

The length of the quarantine will then depend on the time passed between the date the test is taken and when the results come back, with the goal being to send back results via the ad-hoc platform Masanté or via the coronavirus app within 24 to 48 hours.

If the test comes back positive or if symptoms are developed at some point after being tested, previous quarantine rules recommend that a new 7-day quarantine period is respected.

In the event that the test is negative or that it takes more than 10 days to hear back, social-distancing and public hygiene rules must still be thoroughly respected for an additional seven days.

For people with symptoms, a new '7+7 rule' applies, which means that a test must be taken as soon as possible and a 7-day quarantine must be observed. If, after the week in quarantine, the symptoms persist, a new 7-day period of isolation must begin.

In order to ease pressure on general doctors, it will be possible to book an appointment and to download a quarantine certificate online, for which a 10-digit code, received by SMS following the high-risk alert, will be required, Le Soir reports.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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