Healthcare, education workers to get priority in Covid testing from Monday
From Monday, employees in healthcare and education will get priority in being tested for the coronavirus, the Ministry of Public Health announced. Employees in these two sectors can call a special priority number when booking an appointment for a test. That number will be released on Monday morning.
The Ministry called on Netherlands residents to only use the priority number if they work in healthcare or education. Employers are also urged not to make unnecessary use of this regulation, to prevent priority testing centers filling up too quickly. The idea is that workers in these sectors will be tested in the morning as much as possible, so that they can get their test results that evening.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, called on the government to also add childcare workers to the priority testing regulation. According to the Kamer, childcare is also part of the vital sectors and should therefore be treated the same as employees in healthcare and education.
But while demands for priority testing are increasing, chairman Andre Rouvoet of GGD GHOR Nederland, the umbrella organization for the GGD health services, wrote a letter to Health Minister Hugo de Jonge raising concerns about this practice.
The GGDs are worried that the priority regulation will not be properly combined with the capacity problems at the testing centers, and will only result in longer waiting times for other groups, Rouvoet wrote, according to Trouw, who has the letter in its possession.
Rouvoet feels that the main focus should be on preventing Covid-19 infections. "Otherwise it will still be mopping with the tap open." Testing capacity cannot be increased indefinitely, he warned.
The government will be announcing new measures in the fight against the coronavirus in a press conference at 7:00 p.m. on Friday.