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20,000 tests for residential care centres and retirement and nursing homes

Minister Philippe De Backer’s Task Force has significantly increased testing capacity in our country. As a first priority, 20,000 tests have been made available for residential care centres and retirement and nursing homes.

Last weekend, the distribution of the first batch of test kits started along with all the necessary material. A total of 11,000 kits are being distributed in Flanders, 7,000 in Wallonia and 2,000 in Brussels. Each of the three regions drew up a list of institutions that should receive test kits as a matter of priority.

After delivery, the residential care centres and retirement and nursing homes can take a sample from their residents and their staff. These samples are then collected and transferred to the laboratory so that the results for each institution are available as quickly as possible. Each institution will therefore clearly be able to see how many COVID-19 infections there are and the necessary measures can be taken quickly.

The tests are currently being carried out in priority institutions throughout the country. New deliveries of test kits to all other residential care centres and retirement and nursing homes will follow imminently. The increased testing capacity is being deployed to get a clear picture of the presence of the virus in this sector.

Until recently, testing was mainly focused on severely ill patients and healthcare personnel. Now that increasingly more laboratories are being accredited to carry out the tests, other population groups can also be tested. This is important in order to closely monitor the infections in our country and to adjust the measures accordingly.