Testing all 11 million Belgians for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) is “almost impossible,” according to professor Steven Van Gucht.
As the FPS Public Health and the National Crisis Centre announced that Belgium has reached a total of 11,899 cases confirmed by the laboratory during the daily press briefing, professor Steven Van Gucht explained why Belgium is not aiming to test all its citizens for the virus.
“In the first instance, we have to look at the priorities of who we are testing: those priorities have to lie with the profession, for example, healthcare workers or carers in residential care centres,” said Van Gucht. “Patients in hospitals and people with suspicious symptoms or those who have had contact with infected people also get priority,” he added.
“There are over 11 million Belgians. Suppose that we -theoretically- test 100,000 people per day, which is a gigantic number, then it will still take 110 days to test everyone,” said Van Gucht.
“Testing people only once is also not useful. If you want a population to be completely free of a virus, you have to test everyone on a regular basis, like every other week, every 2 weeks, every 3 weeks. Purely mathematically, that is almost an impossible task,” he added.
His comments come as Belgian is looking to increase its testing capacity to 10,000 per day, according to an announcement by Public Health Minister Maggie De Block and Digital Minister Philippe De Backer.
The Brussels Times