Corona patients asked to play ball and identify contacts

Belgium’s national crisis centre has spoken of the reluctance many people, who come down with coronavirus, have in identifying their contacts as part of the contact tracing operation.

Virologist Steven Van Gucht has shed greater light on the activities and experiences of the contact tracers, who contact people who have been diagnosed as corona positive with a view to tracing their contacts and stemming the spread of the virus.

Contact tracing started in Belgium on 11 May.

On Saturday contact tracers contacted 408 people, who are corona positive.  This allowed them to identify 225 contacts, who may be at risk of also coming down with the disease.

Prof Van Gucht: “It’s striking that per infected person we are only receiving information on one or not a single contact, who may be at risk.  The figure is low.”

It had been expected that infected patients would be able to identify around 4 or 5 contacts, who may be at risk.

Researchers suspect that people are being shy about identifying contacts. Prof Van Gucht stressed that there was no need to be afraid: “It’s a completely anonymous procedure.  You will never be told off, punished or judged if you had more than the permitted number of contacts”.

The virologist called on people to play ball if they are infected in order to prevent a second wave and allow the system to function properly.  

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