From today (Wednesday), the Belgian Government is launching a website where people showing Covid-19 symptoms can find out if they need to be tested or not.
Those with a cough, a sore throat or a fever can visit a website that tells them exactly what to do after they have answered a few questions, announced the cabinet of Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.
“This will make the work of pharmacists a lot easier,” Koen Straetmans of the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) told Het Nieuwsblad.
After answering a number of questions, the user will receive a test code with which an appointment can be made, if necessary, at a test centre, a laboratory or a pharmacy.
That way, it is no longer necessary to call a general practitioner or doctor.
Although pharmacists have been faced with a shortage of tests in recent days, and this system ensures that even more people will get tested in pharmacies, the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association is pleased with the arrival of the new tool.
“It will make everything much easier and it will ensure a better supply,” Straetmans said. “Whoever has symptoms fills in the questionnaire and immediately knows where to go.”
Initially, that will be to the pharmacy, where an antigen test is taken. “But if you have symptoms for more than five days, you have to go to your GP and get a PCR test,” he added. “So this system will eliminate a lot of confusion.”
For next weekend (when many holidaymakers will return from leave after the autumn break) the APB does not expect any problems, according to Straetmans.
“The pharmacists had estimated somewhat differently in the past few days, which led to shortages, but we assume that there will be extra tests for this weekend,” he said. “The orders are coming in very quickly, but it took a bit longer in the last few days because of the extended weekend.”