Netherlands turns to Belgium to increase Covid-19 testing capacity
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Netherlands turns to Belgium to increase Covid-19 testing capacity

Credit: Belga

The Netherlands is looking to Belgium to increase its Covid-19 testing capacity, the Dutch Ministry of Public Health and Belgian minister Philippe De Backer confirmed Wednesday in De Tijd.

As The Netherlands currently carries out 28,000 tests per day but the daily demand by health services is 39,000 tests, discussions are underway with Belgium to use some of its laboratories and to increase the Dutch testing capacity in a sustainable way.

“We immediately made it clear that the answer to this question always depends on the timing and the space we ourselves have in the laboratories,” De Backer said, confirming that the request was made three or four weeks ago.

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In the meantime, Belgium is also trying to increase its own testing capacity.

“In less than a month, we should be able to carry out 90,000 tests a day, with 50,000 tests in recognised clinical laboratories and 40,000 in eight university laboratories,” according to De Backer.

According to the most recent figures, which date from 12 to 18 September, Belgium carries out an average of 35,032 tests per day.

The Netherlands broke daily infection records several days in a row recently, reporting over 2,000 cases in a single day on Monday. The country currently stands at 95,899 confirmed cases and 6,272 deaths since the start of the coronavirus crisis, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Belgium, for comparison, has counted 105,226 confirmed cases and 9,955 deaths, according to the Sciensano public health institute.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times