Flanders already purchased 1.1 million rapid Covid-19 tests
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Flanders already purchased 1.1 million rapid Covid-19 tests

Credit: Belga

Flanders has already ordered 1.1 million rapid coronavirus tests, according to figures by Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke.

The first 50,000 were delivered on 5 November, and another 550,000 tests are scheduled to be delivered this week, he said in the Flemish Parliament on Tuesday.

The rapid Covid-19 tests purchased by the Flemish government will be used as a matter of priority for people in education, care, public services and essential companies, according to Beke.

There is no fixed allocation key, he said, adding that distribution will be based on real needs.

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In residential care centres and other care institutions with vulnerable people, the rapid tests will only be used in combination with PCR tests, for the time being.

“In situations where rapid detection is important, such as for staff with mild symptoms, or for residents and staff in case of outbreaks, rapid tests can be a good tool to detect positive cases,” said Beke. “The rapid test will always be combined with a PCR test, especially in the first phase where we also want to focus on further research.”

Additionally, Beke stated that the ‘Sneltestbus’ (“rapid test bus” in Dutch), which drove around in the East Flanders province to allow companies to have their personnel tested quickly, has not yet submitted an application for admission.

The bus was a private initiative of an insurance company, which was deemed illegal at the start of November, after it turned that the company behind the bus had not sought regulatory approval.

The bus had already come under fire from GPs in the Flemish province, with 180 of them coming out against it, saying its rapid-result model risked providing a false sense of safety.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times