Coronavirus: Belgium starts rapid test pilot project on Wednesday
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Coronavirus: Belgium starts rapid test pilot project on Wednesday

A rapid antigen test for Covid-19. Credit: Belga

Belgium’s house health committee has given the green light for a large-scale pilot project involving the use of rapid coronavirus tests in general practitioners’ offices and testing centres.

From Wednesday, 14 GP’s offices and six testing centres will start using rapid coronavirus tests, yielding results after 15 minutes.

The pilot project will involve patients with Covid-19 symptoms who have been ill for less than five days, according to doctors’ association Domus Medica. “For this group, these tests appear to be very reliable. There is no discussion about that,” said Domus Medica president Roel Van Giel.

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“In the long run, the rapid outcome” of the tests “will also allow policy to be adapted quickly,” Van Giel said. Those who test positive can immediately be placed in isolation and contact tracing can start, Van Giel explained.

The pilot projects will run until 6 January under the supervision of two professors from the university of Leuven (KU Leuven), after which the use of the tests could be rolled out on a large scale, in all GP practices and testing centres.

The approval of the pilot project comes as Belgium has seen an increase in new daily coronavirus infections for the second day in a row, totaling 608,137 confirmed cases as of Monday.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times