GGD wants to test all Lansingerland residents for UK coronavirus variant
All residents of the municipality of Lansingerland will be asked to participate in the first mass testing initiative in the Netherlands to identify the spread of the B117 mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The mutation, more common to the United Kingdom, is believed to be at least 55 percent more contagious than the more prevalent coronavirus strain in the Netherlands.
The UK variant has been found dozens of times in the Netherlands over the past month, mainly in people who have had no direct contact with the UK. It was linked to an outbreak at the Willibrordschool primary school in Bergschenhoek, a village making up part of Lansingerland.
The municipality is made up of 62,500 inhabitants in about 24 thousand households. Everyone aged two and up will be invited by the Rotterdam-Rijnmond branch of the GGD municipal health service and Erasmus Medical Center to be tested for the coronavirus mutation. They want to test people regardless of their health symptoms to also find asymptomatic carriers of the B117 mutation.
“This approach is valuable for the whole of the Netherlands, and also especially for the residents of Lansingerland to ensure that the virus cannot spread further,” said Mayor Pieter van de Stadt. “I am callin upon all residents to be tested and to strictly abide by the coronavirus restrictions.”
“With the current pressure on our healthcare system, it is essential that we get the coronavirus and therefore als the British variant, under control as much as possible. That is why this approach has been chosen,” said Erasmus MC virologist Marion Koopmans.
The GGD and the Erasmus MC expanded their testing capacity to ensure that all residents are tested as quickly as possible, including the introduction of mobile testing facilities and the use of a special area at the Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Testing will move forward based on postal codes to reduce queuing time. Should someone receive a positive test result, the GGD will begin a contact trace investigation.
In total, fifty people in the Netherlands have tested positive for the UK variant. Although the mutation is proven to be more contagious than its predecessor, there is no evidence that it causes worse symptoms of Covid-19.