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Flanders starts rapid testing in essential businesses

Credit: Belga

Flanders started rapid testing in essential businesses on Wednesday at REO veiling, a vegetable and fruit growers’ association in Roeselare, West Flanders.

The essential businesses include companies in the electricity, nuclear power, port, pharmaceutical, (petro)chemical and food industry sectors. Tests will be reserved for employees in key positions who have had high-risk contacts.

Those key positions “are carefully determined by the prevention services and occupational physicians,” according to Flemish Economy Minister Hilde Crevits.

If the employees test negative, they can continue their work, while having to quarantine outside of work. They will then take another antigen test on the third day, followed by a PCR test on the seventh day.

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If one of these tests is positive, the infected employee will immediately be placed in isolation. However, a certificate provided by the employer will allow the employee to travel from home to the workplace.

The first antigenic tests were carried out at REO Veiling on forklift drivers, who are indispensable to the company. All the employees concerned tested negative.

Initially, 40,000 antigen tests are available for 20,000 employees from around 50 companies. An evaluation will be carried out after a first two-week phase.

“In total, we have ordered four million rapid tests in Flanders,” Crevits said. “Some of them were already delivered at the end of last year. If the screening in companies proves to be effective, we will certainly provide additional rapid tests.”

The Brussels Times