School doctors will soon also be allowed to prescribe Covid-19 tests
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School doctors will soon also be allowed to prescribe Covid-19 tests

Credit: Belga

From next week, school and company doctors in Belgium will also be able to prescribe Covid-19 tests, according to the head of the Testing & Tracing Committee Karine Moykens.

The Committee developed a new tool to take the pressure of general practitioners, who are currently swamped with questions and paperwork, in addition to their regular work, said Moykens during a press conference on Friday.

“We notice that infections are also occurring in schools and companies, which is why the school and company doctors will be able to prescribe tests, and consult the test results of those patients,” she said, adding that this will be possible via a new ‘prescription tool.’

In practice, this means that the process to quarantine or test someone will be shortened, as several steps will be skipped.

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“If a doctor in a school (or a company) establishes an infection, and wants to have the high-risk contacts tested, he can refer them to a centre to get tested with a prescription. But to get the results, he would then have to call several labs, because the affected people could live all over,” Moykens explained.

“Thanks to this tool, the results will automatically reach the right people, and the school or company doctor can immediately tell who should stay at home,” she said. “No intermediate steps, no time loss.”

However, the autumn holidays – which start this weekend – have been extended, meaning that children will not be in school until at least 12 November.

Additionally, to combat long lines forming outside of testing centres, a different tool, in which the centres can indicate when they have free time slots to carry out tests, was created.

“People can only use that tool to make a reservation,” Moykens said. “Long lines are, of course, not ideal at a time when it is necessary to avoid gatherings.”

The tool requires an activation code for a test (which people receive via text message, or via their doctor), a telephone number and a telephone number, and can be found on the mijngezondheid.belgie.be website.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times