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Brussels does not test enough for Covid-19, expert warns

Credit: Belga

The Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonia are not carrying out enough coronavirus tests, according to biostatistician Geert Molenberghs.

Even though Belgium is one of the frontrunners in Europe when it comes to testing policy, there are still major differences between regions, with Brussels and Wallonia not testing enough, he told Knack.

The number of tests per 100,000 inhabitants is much higher in Flanders, according to the figures. Of the Flemish provinces, West Flanders carries out the most tests, with 2,745 tests per 100,000 inhabitants, and Flemish Brabant tests the least, with 2,012 tests.

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In the Brussels-Capital Region, however, the number of tests per 100,000 inhabitants is 1,547. In Wallonia, the Luxembourg province scores best, with 1,859 tests per 100,000 inhabitants. Liège carries out the lowest number of tests, at 1,268.

“Brussels and Wallonia need to scale up,” said Molenberghs. “Sufficient testing is one of the elements to crack the transmission of the virus.”

The Brussels health inspectorate, however, doubts that there is less testing in Brussels. “I think that is a bit of an exaggeration,” Inge Neven, head of the Brussels health inspectorate, said on Flemish radio.

“It may be that it is a little underestimated, but statistics also show that people wait longer to go to the GP if they have symptoms,” she added.

“Additionally, we also hear that a number of doctors do not always refer people to get tested,” Neven said. “That is why we want to call on both citizens and doctors, if there are symptoms, to see a doctor as soon as possible and have themselves tested.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times