Surge testing of under 12s in Wommelgem yields “abominable resuIt”

In Antwerp Province the municipality of Wommelgem is taking additional measures against the spread of coronavirus after a quarter of children aged between 6 and 12 that were tested gave a positive for coronavirus.

Surge testing of children in this age category during the weekend showed that some one hundred of the 390 children tested were positive for coronavirus. In all 600 children at three primary schools had been invited to take the test following a surge in cases.

A second school in the municipality is being closed ahead of the half term break.  Four classes in two other schools are being told to stay at home.  One primary school is already closed. All activities at sports and youth associations for under 12s are being suspended.

“The results of the test were abominable” says Mayor Gys. “If we extrapolate the results, we see that between 25% and 30% of under 12s are positive. We will invite all the pupils for a new test on Saturday.”

Earlier Wommelgem reintroduced masking at the school gate.

Biostatistician Geer Molenberghs notes that a quarter of positive cases is an awful lot: “We see that today the primary school is one of the engines of the spreading of the virus.  Children there are not vaccinated.  In secondary schools everything is going smoothly as youngsters are vaccinated.  We need to tackle the problem where it arises and that I fear is at primary school.”

Molenberghs says thought needs to be given to the introduction of masking in primary schools: “It’s an easier option to quarantine and closure.”

“Children may not suffer greatly from the infection, but possibly they are more contagious because they are unvaccinated and can infect other people.”

On Wednesday representatives of the Flemish education sector meet to consider the pandemic.  Molenberghs says that as far as he is concerned masking should be introduced in primary schools.


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