Covid-19: overloaded Brussels contact tracers switch to texting
Share article:
Share article:

Covid-19: overloaded Brussels contact tracers switch to texting

Credit: Belga

Brussels contact tracers have switched from calling to texting as they can no longer keep up with the rise in infections, Karine Moykens, head of the interfederal testing and tracing committee, told De Standaard.

People in Brussels who have been in close contact with someone who has contracted Covid-19 will receive an SMS with a test code, as is the case for travellers returning from a so-called red zone.

In addition, the number of contact tracers will be increased to 200.

As the region’s tracing capacity reaches its limits, testing capacity could reach its limits by the end of the week, according to Inge Neven of the Brussels health inspection.

“Three test centres have just been added, and I can see a margin there, although it is not very large,” Neven said. “The faster the virus progresses and the more infections there are, the faster we need to build test centres. At some point we will no longer be able to follow.”

Related News

 

While more testing centres are coming, including one at the Heysel next week, laboratories are also having a hard time keeping up, according to Neven. “In the next few days, we will have to devise a test strategy, both at a regional and a federal level,” she said, adding that “we are working together with various scientific committees” to achieve this.

Brussels has counted 28,049 confirmed cases since the start of the coronavirus crisis, with a daily average of 880.7 new cases in the last 7 days, a 52% rise compared to the week before.

Almost 1 in 5 inhabitants of Brussels who were tested for Covid-19 over the past week received a positive result, and while the rise is less pronounced than in the rest of the country (with a 93% rise at a national level), this is likely because the region’s testing capacity is being put to the test so much, according to Sciensano virologist Steven Van Gucht.

In total, 173,240 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Belgium, according to Sciensano, and the incidence of the past two weeks was 467.8 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Aggression against railway staff more than doubled since 2020
In the first three quarters of 2021, the number of reports of aggression against national railway company SNCB's staff has more than doubled compared ...
Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...
Closing borders and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...