Netherlands expanding Covid-19 testing from today
Starting on Monday, the number of daily tests for Covid-19 performed in the Netherlands will be scaled up. Currently some 4 thousand tests per day are done for the coronavirus. In the coming days and weeks, that will be more than quadrupled to about 17,500 tests per day.
Minster Hugo de Jonge of Public Health announced the new test policy last week Tuesday. He wants to ensure that all healthcare workers and the vulnerable people they work with can be tested and protected. The extra tests will initially go to healthcare workers and patients in nursing homes, disabled care, home care, and mental health care. After that, GPs can offer tests to people in risk groups.
In order to increase testing capacity, public health institute RIVM expanded the number of labs that can test for Covid-19 from 15 to 41, NU.nl reports. If necessary, these laboratories can be charged to run 24 hours a day, increasing the possible tests to 29 thousand per day.
The RIVM will keep using its current test kits, which take about 24 hours to confirm a coronavirus diagnosis. Biotech companies are increasingly making faster tests, that can diagnose a Covid-19 infection within a few hours. But these tests are not yet widely available and it is important that all labs test in the same way, a spokesperson for the RIVM said to NU.nl. "If different tests are done left and right, they are of little use in terms of reliability," he said.