Two testing centres in Brussels will begin offering non-refundable Covid-19 tests to residents, including those who need them to travel abroad.
Head of Brussels’ health inspectorate, Inge Neven, said that the tests will be available from Thursday for residents who require a test for a non-health-related reason, such as for travelling in or out of Belgium.
The tests will be offered by two centres in the Brussels-Capital Region, one in Boulevard Pacheco, in northern Brussels and other other in the Mohamed Ali/Heyvaert sports hall in Molenbeek.
The tests will cost €46.81 and will not be reimbursed by social security. Residents looking to get tested must book an appointment online.
The choice to pander to a different testing public comes amid reports that the capital region’s testing capacity, ramped up throughout the summer, is underused.
While the testing centres in the region can collectively perform at least 9,000 coronavirus tests per day, Neven said the centres were performing, on average, just over 2,000 tests per day, according to Bruzz.
Ahead of the year-end holidays, Neven urged the public to respect restrictions on gathering and urged them to not see a negative test as a green light for a largee holiday reunion.
“We offer the paid test as a service, because we know that some people have to go abroad. But we certainly don’t want to encourage such tests,” she said.
“Anyone who gets a test done and has to wait three days for the result can be infected in the meantime,” she said.”If the government urges not to gather in large groups during the holidays, I hope people will follow the recommendations.”
Government officials and doctors have warned that large end-of-year gatherings could spike a third wave of the coronavirus and, once again, overwhelm labs, hospitals and the health care sector.
“At the moment, there is sufficient test capacity, but we naturally want that capacity to remain available and prioritary to containing the pandemic,” she said.