Testing for access costing millions, despite not being used much: report
The companies lined up to test people for Covid-19 so that they can attend events are together getting paid about a million euros per day, even though the Testing for Access system is hardly being used at this point, the Volkskrant reported based on its own research.
On July 9, the cabinet tightened coronavirus restrictions due to the spread of the Delta variant in the Netherlands and various large outbreaks at nightclubs, student parties, and festivals. Testing for Access can now only be used for events with a fixed seat, such as sports matches.
As a result, the number of Testing for Access tests done dropped from over half a million in the first week of July, to only 68 thousand last week. But the eleven companies hired to do these tests continued to earn high amounts - they're not paid per test done, but for the capacity they made available, even if that capacity wasn't used.
According to the newspaper, the testing companies receive 387 euros per day per "testing point", good for 200 tests per day. In the past two weeks there were 1,100 such testing points, spread over more than 110 locations. At manned points, personnel costs are also added. All in all that amounted to about 1 million euros per day, for a system that can handle 200 thousand tests per day, but only did about 12 thousand a day in the past two weeks.
The Open Nederland foundation, which organizes the access tests for the Ministry of Public Health, told the Volkskrant that the capacity was reduced by half on Monday. That could only be done after two weeks, foundation manager Pier Eringa said to the newspaper. "Of course it is a waste of money. We came to a screeching halt. But we have to keep the store open, even if there are few customers for a while. That is the price we pay to be assured of sufficient capacity."