Coronavirus: Brussels contact tracers aim to reach 1,000 people a day
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    Coronavirus: Brussels contact tracers aim to reach 1,000 people a day

    These tracers will work to trace the people who have been in contact with confirmed or suspected people infected with the coronavirus. © Belga

    Brussels’ team of coronavirus contact tracers is set to begin work on 11 May and will be aiming to reach around 1,000 people every day, the regional health minister said.

    “Based on the current rate of daily infections, we will be contacting about a thousand people a day in the coming weeks,” Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron said in a health committee meeting on Thursday.

    The team hired to trace and contact people suspected of having been exposed to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) will begin work from next week, after having completed a week-long pilot test.

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    The region’s contact tracing platform will begin operations with 85 workers in a call centre, with Maron saying that the aim was to have 120 people on the job by mid-next week and 200 by the beginning of June, Bruzz reports.

    The team would also include 64 field agents who would be charged with contacting people if they couldn’t be reached by phone or if the information gathered through the call was deemed insufficient.

    The health minister said that it was not clear when the region would complete its contact tracing strategy, saying it could take anywhere from months to years.

    “We will have to ask the right questions and assess capacity over the coming months,” he said.

    The operation will be done in partnership with complementary health insurance companies (mutalités/mutualiteit) and call centre company N-Allo, for a cost of €7.3 million.

    In Flanders, the contact tracing contracts have been awarded to multinational accounting firm KPMG and ZPG Intermut, a consortium of complementary health insurers, alongside a consortium of call centres, for €101.363 million for a period of 7 months.

    Health authorities in Walloon will be partnering with a group of complementary health insurers as well as call centre companies Ikanbi and CallExcell and job placement companies ENTRA and LEM Interim, with the price undisclosed in an online statement.

    The three regions’ contact tracing teams will begin operations on 11 May.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times