Covid-19 tests available for all with symptoms from June 1

Covid-19: Three young men walk past a 'Fight the Virus' sign on Panamalaan in Amsterdam, 22 April 2020
Covid-19: Three young men walk past a 'Fight the Virus' sign on Panamalaan in Amsterdam, 22 April 2020NL TimesNL Times

The government's plan to ensure access to Covid-19 tests for any person with symptoms of the disease is set to come into effect in a little over a week, GGD director Sjaak de Gouw confirmed to the public broadcaster NOS on Saturday. The expanded access to mucus membrane swab tests will begin on June 1.

Initially put forward on May 6 during the government's announcement of the economy's reopening, the ambitious plan seeks to provide free and unlimited access to Covid-19 test to any Netherlands resident who has self-diagnosed one of the disease symptoms. Up until now, the option for testing had been limited to groups of people such as healthcare staff, and those most vulnerable to the disease. The testing policy expanded to cover home healthcare workers, and in mid-May it also included education workers once primary schools reopened.

People showing suspected symptoms of the Covid-19 disease are required to make an appointment with the GGD by telephone in order to schedule a test. The telephone number will be made publicly available next weak in a public health campaign, according to NOS. Those with more serious symptoms will be advised to contact a physician by phone first.

The GGD has spent the last weeks ramping up its preparedness ahead of testing becoming more widely available in the Netherlands, with Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge having estimated last month that testing capacity would need to be ready to conduct some 29,000 per day in order to meet the demand.

Tags: