€1.2 billion set aside for GGD to deal with Covid crisis: report
The government is setting aside 1.2 billion euros extra this year and next for the GGD health services, to cover the costs incurred in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, sources told RTL Nieuws. These extra costs are part of the government's budget negotiations, according to the broadcaster.
The crisis put three major extra tasks on the GGD's plate - taking samples from people to be tested for the coronavirus, laboratory studies of these samples, and source and contact tracing for every person who tests positive for SARS-CoV-2. The health services had to hire extra staff for testing and source and contact tracing. And GGD employees must be paid for their overtime and unused holidays.
Laboratories also incurred extra costs involved in processing the many thousands of Covid-19 tests.
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health promised that the government would cover these extra costs. "My message to the GGDs has consistently been that they had to plan and act without calculating financial obstacles in advance. The State will reimburse those additional costs," the Minister said in response to parliamentary questions on the matter.