A Flemish family of eight was among the new patients who tested positive for the new Covid-19 coronavirus on Wednesday but was not immediately screened after returning from northern Italy.
One of the family members started developing symptoms but was not immediately tested because they had not travelled to a high-risk area in Italy, VRT reports.
After the tests were carried out and one of them came back as positive, the other members of the family were “immediately” screened and they all tested positive for the virus.
The family is currently quarantined in their home in Wevelgem, a municipality just outside of Kortrijk near the French border.
One of the family members reportedly works as a primary school teacher and went to work before being put in quarantine, with Wevelgem Mayor Jan Seynhaeve urging parents to remain attentive to symptoms but stopping short of ordering the school to close.
Other members of the family are also reported to have worked ahead of the positive test results, with Flemish health authorities currently working to identify those who came into contact with the family, HLN reports.
Joris Moonens from the Flemish Agency for Care and Health told The Brussels Times that he could not confirm details regarding “specific cases,” but that doctors followed the official advise to only test people from officially-designated high-risk areas.
“People who do not come from those high-risk areas, in general, do not get tested,” he said. “There can be exceptions made to the rule, in which the doctor decides to overrule the general procedure and decide to do a test with the advice from the Agency.”
“We try to adhere to this general testing rules as much as possible to avoid overtesting, which could put pressure on the capacity of the health care professionals,” he added.
While Moonens said there were currently no plans to enlarge the testing criteria and begin testing patients coming from other areas, he said the high-risk areas abroad, such as in Italy, were constantly being reviewed and that the agency updated the procedures accordingly.
The Brussels Times