The Interministerial Conference on Public Health and the Government Secretariat on Corona are very concerned about the sharp growth of the COVID-19 epidemic. The impact on the physical and mental health of staff in the health and welfare sector is immense. For this reason, the IMC Public Health has already taken several measures, including a recent change in the testing strategy.
This testing strategy is continuously evaluated by a team of experts, under the coordination of the Government Secretariat on Corona, which advises the Ministers involved on potential adjustments. Based on these evaluations and urgent questions from various sectors, the IMC was advised to further refine the testing strategy. In particular, the refinements should further support some professional groups that play a direct role in managing the crisis.
The Interministerial Conference on Public Health has therefore decided the following:
Currently, the rule is that people who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, but are not showing any symptoms, should be quarantined for ten days without a test.
From now on, this rule will not apply to the following professions, professional groups or sectors:
- The care and welfare sector (preventive and curative medicine, home help and care at home, etc.) and their support services (administration, cleaning, logistics, etc.).
- Federal services, in particular Justice, Defence, Police, emergency services (fire brigade, civil protection)
- Public hygiene services
- Asylum and migration services
- Industries for the production of medical consumables, pharmaceuticals and essential health products
- Youth aid sector
- School staff and services for young children (to enable the above sectors to continue their activities)
- Informal caregivers
These groups can be tested on day five after the day on which close contact with a COVID-19 tested person took place:
- For a negative test result on day five, quarantine will end two days later;
- For a positive test result on day five, an isolation of at least 7 days will apply. This isolation will start on the day of the test collection in asymptomatic patients or on the day that the first symptoms occurred in symptomatic patients. If symptoms occur, in order to return from isolation, people must be fever-free for 3 days and see a clear improvement in the symptoms.
The professions concerned were informed about this on 28 October through various channels.
The Government Commissioner for Corona, Pedro Facon
The Ministers making up the Interministerial Conference on Public Health,
- Wouter Beke – Flanders, IMC chairman
- Frank Vandenbroucke – Federal State
- Christie Morreale – Walloon Region
- Valérie Glatigny – French Community
- Bénédicte Linard – French Community
- Alain Maron – Joint Community Commission and French Community Commission
- Elke Van den Brandt – Joint Community Commission and Flemish Community Commission
- Antonios Antoniadis – German-speaking Community
The Interministerial Conference on Public Health is organised and supported by the DG Health of the FPS HFCSE.