Belgium will purchase rapid coronavirus tests after all, an interministerial conference on Public Health decided on Tuesday.
At the conference it was decided to instruct the Federal Agency for Medicine and Health Products to purchase rapid tests, Flemish Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke told Parliament. There will also be a task force on testing, with Professor of Microbiology Herman Goossens as chairman.
“But there is a second matter besides the purchase, and that is where and how these tests should be used,” Beke said. The Minister stated on Saturday morning on Radio 1 that “rapid tests can give a false sense of security.”
“I have doubts about the deployment in residential care centres. If you miss a diagnosis here, it can have dangerous consequences,” he told Parliament. “Look at the garden party in the White House. Rapid tests were carried out there and that failed.”
In Beke’s opinion, the question of where the rapid tests can be used is worthy of debate.
“You have taken the initiative to convene an inter-ministerial conference, which I applaud, and it is now going to set up a task force,” Jeremie Vaneeckhout (Groen) responded in Parliament. “While Germany placed the order three weeks ago. In my opinion, this has nothing to do with the institutional nature of our country, but mainly with leadership and political responsibility.”
Hannes Anaf (sp.a) believes that the rapid tests should be used in the residential care centres. “The number of infections in residential care centres is rising sharply again,” he said. “Let’s ensure that the tests can be used quickly in residential care centres to minimise further spread.”