Plan for expanded coronavirus testing revealed; Anyone can get tested from June 1

Dr. Milly Haverkort, an infectious diseases and internal medicine specialist, demonstrates a coronavirus exam at the GGD Kennemerland. February 2020.
Dr. Milly Haverkort, an infectious diseases and internal medicine specialist, demonstrates a coronavirus exam at the GGD Kennemerland. February 2020.Ministerie VWSMinisterie VWS

Municipal health service GGD has laid out its approach to handling the influx of people expected to seek Covid-19 tests when they become freely available to anybody with symptoms from June 1. Anyone with health complaints similar to those of a cold, cough or flu should stay home and get tested, implored Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.

Just days ahead of widespread testing becoming available, the GGD's new guidelines put out on Wednesday stipulate that anybody showing symptoms will be able to call a telephone number from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m., seven days a week, in order to book an appointment for a mucus swab test.

The hotline number will not be disclosed until June 1, the health service has said. After making a booking, test-seekers will be able to be screened at one of eighty locations across the Netherlands, with home testing also being made available for those who need it. Results will follow within 48 hours, the GGD has said.

While the service is designed to have people tested the day after they book, the GGD expects there to be a backlog in the first several days due to the anticipated surge in demand for the service. "As a result, it may take longer to make an appointment and get tested in the beginning," GGD head Sjaak de Gouw said in a statement.

"But we are ensuring that everyone with health complaints related to the coronavirus is helped as quickly as possible," he added.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in the Netherlands, only certain groups of people such as caregivers, teachers, youth trainers and informal caregivers, among others, have been able to readily access testing for the disease. For others, testing can only be accessed once a doctor suspects the illness.

From June 1, the same access to testing will be extended to all Netherlands residents.

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