Brussels resumes Covid-19 screening in nursing home staff
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Brussels resumes Covid-19 screening in nursing home staff

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Regional health officials in Brussels will resume preventative Covid-19 screening of health workers in care homes and other live-in institutions.

Around 1,000 staff members are set to benefit from the screening, resumed as the federal government said that it would return to testing asymptomatic people for the new coronavirus.

The scheme concerns employees in nursing homes and residential care institutions for people with disabilities or with psychiatric conditions, as well as staff in shelters and rehabilitation centres.

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Each health care institution will have to submit a request through a digital platform and will be entitled to get its staff members tested once each month, according to Bruzz.

The news come as the country’s federal strategy prepares for a wider influx of tests from Monday, with asymptomatic people and returnees from high-risk travel zones allowed to get a test again.

As the rapid surge in coronavirus cases outpaced lab capacities, the federal government decided to limit testing to people who were experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Last week, officials in Wallonia launched a mass testing scheme for all nursing home workers, who will be screened weekly for the virus using saliva-based samples.

The return to universal testing could see Belgium’s infection figures spike back up, as labs begin detecting active cases of the virus in otherwise healthy people, a federal health official warned on Wednesday.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times