Share article:

    Contact tracing: Brussels to start test phase on 4 May

    Credit: Belga

    The Brussels government will decide on which company will provide the contact tracers for the region, after launching a call for tenders last Saturday.

    A test phase for the tracing of people who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected person infected with the coronavirus will start in Brussels on 4 May, the cabinet of Brussels Minister for Health Alain Maron told RTBF. The system is expected to be fully operational the week after, on 11 May, which is the date set for the reopening of stores, if the evolution of the virus permits it.

    Belgium is hiring 2,000 so-called “corona detectives” to carry out the contact tracing, but the tracing is the responsibility of the country regions, with 200 tracers set to be put to work in Brussels, 600 in Wallonia and 1,200 in Flanders. However, the investigators in all regions will have access to a common digital platform.

    As soon as someone tests postive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), a list of the people that they have been in contact with over the past two weeks will be established via a call centre. These people will then be tested for the virus and those who test positive will be quarantined for two weeks.

    Related News:

     

    This measure will last a minimum of one year, reports La Libre.

    On Tuesday, the Brussels government announced that it was earmarking €10 million for the implementation of the contact tracing, with the period of deconfinement in sight.

    On Wednesday, Flemish Minister for Welfare Wouter Beke said that the recruitment of the Flemish tracers was delayed as “a number of formalities” were not completed in the search for an external partner to help recruit the contact tracers.

    While the entire Flemish system will not be fully operational by 4 May, the theoretical model for contact detection will be able to run trials, including on the common digital platform. “Hopefully, we will be ready by 11 May, for the next phase,” Beke said.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times