Rapid antigen tests: hospitals, front-line workers and testing centres get priority
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Rapid antigen tests: hospitals, front-line workers and testing centres get priority

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Belgium will use the coronavirus rapid tests it’s ordered for hospitals, front-line workers and testing centres in the first place, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Friday.

Rapid antigen tests have been implemented into the Belgian testing policy after the Interministerial Public Health Conference green-lit an update to Belgium’s testing policy.

The goal of using rapid antigen tests is to ease the pressure on PCR testing capacity and target specific groups with the newly-available PCR tests.

The rapid tests will not go to nursing homes, as the tests are less precise. “A classic test requires five to six hours of analysis. These rapid tests are analysed in fifteen minutes,” Vandenbroucke said. “Imagine that you would make a mistake in a nursing home, then you would be making a very big mistake.”

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Around 56,200 coronavirus tests were taken in the last seven days, according to the latest data from the Sciensano public health institute.

While that’s fewer tests than the weeks before, the tests’ positivity rate has increased. Furthermore, Belgium’s R rate is still above 1.0, meaning the spread of the virus is still growing in Belgium.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times