“Everybody with flu-like symptoms to be tested for coronavirus”

All patients with flu-like symptoms will soon be tested for coronavirus Philippe De Backer, the federal minister heading the corona taskforce has confirmed.

“I’ve been a supporter of increasing the number of tests for a while and of broadening the criteria that determine who is tested.  We will do this as part of the exit strategy.  We must monitor how the virus spreads in order to stop it ASAP.  This means you will need to test a lot including people with mild symptoms to identify virus carriers and take appropriate action.”

Mr De Backer (Flemish liberal) says capacity isn’t a problem: “We’re working on this day and night.  Capacity is far above the 10,000 tests we could do a day.  Now it’s a question of finding the people in the field using triage centres and other centres, where samples can be taken when the exit starts.”

Mr De Backer concedes that since the beginning of the crisis a tight definition of who should be tested has been employed. Meanwhile this definition has been broadened: “Co-ordination in care homes has been improved too to ensure labs receive as many samples as possible.   More tests will also be carried out in hospital.” 

Tracing apps that track your contacts are part of the exit strategy too. Tracing apps appear to be the responsibility of Belgium’s regions.  Mr De Backer says that the federal government will ensure a legal privacy framework. The apps that are marketed will have to be able to communicate with each other: “You won’t have to install two apps if you live in Antwerp and work in Brussels”.