Self-tests should not be used as free pass for concerts or to travel, Belgian microbiologist says

Self-tests should not be used as free pass for concerts or to travel, Belgian microbiologist says
Credit: Belga

Self-tests are not 100% reliable and should not be used as a free pass to attend concerts or travel, according to microbiologist and member of the testing task force Herman Goossens.

It was announced last week that these tests, with which you can check whether you have the coronavirus yourself and receive the results in 15 minutes, will be sold in pharmacies in Belgium from 6 April, but these tests are not entirely conclusive, Goossens said.

"It is an extra safety measure, it is not an 'or' situation, but an 'and' situation. But I don't think it is a good idea to use them for concerts, and they shouldn’t be a free pass for travelling," Goossens said in "De Ochtend" on Radio 1.

When it was announced that bars and restaurants were expected to re-open on 1 May, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo added that testing would be the way forward in this, also for events.

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However, both Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon and Federal Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke stressed that for the time being, a self-test may not be used "as an entrance ticket to an event or activity.”

Goossens emphasised that this type of test is as reliable as the rapid test, but both are not as effective as the PCR tests, meaning you could test negative and still be infected.

As people have to take this test by themselves, it is also more difficult to perform correctly, but according to Goossens, it’s "not too complicated."

"Some people have difficulty reading the result because the line is sometimes not entirely clear. When in doubt, a PCR test should always provide certainty," he said.

He added that these tests could mainly be beneficial in helping to detect super-spreaders more quickly.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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