Anyone with flu symptoms should undergo a coronavirus test, University of Antwerp Professor Herman Goossens told VTM.
The Professor believes that a larger screening is necessary in order to contain the epidemic — and not only in Belgium.
According to the Professor, who is also coordinating the “PREPARE Outbreak Mode” committee, funded by the European Commission, the criteria that are currently used to test people for the coronavirus are too strict.
“This means that we will not detect a number of infected people,” he explains. “I’m more inclined, as are the Netherlands, the UK and Italy, for example, to also identify people with respiratory symptoms who are examined for the flu virus.”
Goossens said that the second coronavirus case in Belgium, announced on Sunday, was detected thanks to more extended testing.
“In a context of strict application, the patient would not have met the criteria to screen the coronavirus. I had decided this week not to apply the criteria and to perform screenings within broader standards. Thanks to that, the patient has been properly diagnosed.”
According to Goossens, a wider screening is feasible. He referred to Italy, where, he said, nearly 100,000 tests were performed.
For this to be possible, we would need to work with more than only a few reference laboratories. New laboratories and strengthened laboratory capacity, for example in hospitals, would be necessary.