Coronavirus: Belgium to test all nursing homes and care facilities
Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: Belgium to test all nursing homes and care facilities

© Belga

All staff and residents of health and care facilities in Belgium will be tested for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) with over 200,000 test kits distributed by the federal government.

Out of the more than 210,000 PCR test kits, a majority is set to go to Flanders (121,673), followed by Wallonia (60,966) and Brussels (20,702).

The testing is estimated to last around three weeks with regional governments deciding which facilities will be tested and in which order.

Related News:


Federal Minister Philippe De Backer, charged with organising  and boosting the country’s testing strategy, said in an online statement the tests’ target group across all regions would be “all staff and all residents that have not yet been tested for Covid-19.”

The news comes as regional authorities race to contain soaring rates of contagion among nursing homes in the country, after figures from last week revealed that nursing home residents made just under half of Belgium’s total coronavirus deaths.

In Flanders, the minister of health, Wouter Beke, came under fire from the opposition who accused him of failing to respond sooner, after it was revealed that over 600 nursing home residents had died in Flanders since figures began to be collected on 18 March.

Regional governments will be tasked with deploying the tests throughout the facilities on their territory, while the federal authorities will provide testing materials and carry out analysis via a centralised PCR platform.

According to Belgium’s current strategy only hospitalised Covid-19 patients or medical staff presenting symptoms of the virus can be tested for Covid-19.

In late March, the testing guidelines were enlarged to include nursing homes and other live-in facilities, including prisons, and recommended at that time a maximum of five tests per centre.

Aside from nursing homes, facilities for psychiatric care and all other health or care facilities will also be included in the efforts to widen testing.

PCR-based testing analyses tissue samples from throat or nose swabs and is capable of producing results within hours or in up to two days.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...