Nearly 325,000 requested a Covid-19 test in a single day

The Covid-19 test hotline was called an average of 27 thousand times per hour, or about 7.5 times per second, on Monday, the first day it was open to the public. Anyone residing in the Netherlands was given the opportunity to schedule an appointment to be tested for the coronavirus disease starting June 1.

“It is important that people with complaints can quickly turn to one of the GGDs for a test,” said Sjaak de Gouw, the director of the organization which leads all regional and municipal GGD health services. The available test is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) mucus swab test, and not a serological blood test.

“Moreover, I would like to emphasize again that this test only shows whether you are currently infected, not whether you have already had the virus,” De Gouw told NOS.

Previously, testing was only limited to a select groups of people, including healthcare workers, those in vulnerable health, and later teachers and other caregivers. On Monday, the GGD arranged for 1,100 callers to get tested immediately, and scheduled another 4,400 appointments.

That represents fewer than two percent of all calls made to the hotline. From the moment when the line opened at 8 a.m. until it closed at 8 p.m., it was dialed approximately 323 thousand times.

About 75 percent of those calls were to schedule an appointment, according to broadcaster NOS. The rest were calling the wrong number with requests for other information or assistance.

The hotline to schedule a Covid-19 test is 0800-1202. People seeking general information from the government about coronavirus and the pandemic response can call 0800-1351. Each GGD branch also has its own contact numbers for information or to schedule appointments for vaccinations, drug testing, and sexually transmitted infection tests.