‘About time’ access to coronavirus test got easier, Brussels mayor says
Share article:
Share article:

‘About time’ access to coronavirus test got easier, Brussels mayor says

© Belga

In order to fight back a potential new wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium, it is high time to make it easier to get tested, Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said on Thursday.

As clusters continue to emerge in over 110 Belgian municipalities, Close took to Twitter to say it was about time to open up and facilitate access to a Covid-19 test in the country.

“Isn’t it time to make [Covid-19] testing easier in Belgium? No appointment, no prescription?” Close tweeted, calling for the “rapid” set up of several testing centres such as the ones set up by South Korea and some US states.


Close said that four Brussels hospitals were ready to step in and increase testing after the current barriers were done away with.

Currently, regulations to get access to testing —decided at the federal level by health institute Sciensano—, mean that individuals must be asymptomatic to get tested.

Moreover, Sciensano requires that testing centres give priority to health staff, people living in residential communities such as nursing homes and people who have had close contact with confirmed Covid-19 tests.

In order to have a test reimbursed, individuals must also have their doctor write them a prescription to get tested.

Close’s calls for wider testing on Thursday also coincides with a decision by the regional health minister, Alain Maron, to double the testing capacity in the Brussels’ region to up to 5,000 per day — but only by September.

The capital’s testing capacity has also been put under considerable strain in recent weeks, with the closure of several testing centres coinciding with a surge in demand for testing by residents looking to prove their virus-free status before leaving on holidays.

As the virus continues to flare in Flanders —with entire Antwerp province put under curfew in an effort to contain surging new infections— medical professionals in Brussels have urged local authorities to remain vigilant, with one doctor saying that an Antwerp-like scenario was not unlikely in the Belgian capital.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...