Unused XL Covid test center cost taxpayers €2 million
An extra-large Covid-19 testing location built in Zwolle cost taxpayers 2 million euros but ended up never being used, RTV Oost reports based on information from the Ministry of Public Health.
The Ministry told the broadcaster the costs include constructing and dismantling this white pavilion, which stood next to the IJsselhallen in Zwolle from early June to late August. "This concerns ongoing costs, such as furnishing, IT, location rent, sewerage, fuel, insulation, the 54 test places, and rest areas for the staff," a spokesperson said.
Losser-based company Hestia was hired to do 25,000 Covid-19 tests per day in the Zwolle XL location. The location was meant for Testing for Access, where people could get tested to attend an event or festival or go to a club. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Shortly after the Cabinet relaxed coronavirus restrictions and launched the Testing for Access system in June, coronavirus infections spiked. The government ended up tightening the restrictions again, and demand for Testing for Access plummeted as nightclubs closed.
"The XL site was kept in reserve if the existing test capacity was not sufficient for the demand for access testing," the Ministry said to RTV Oost. "We wanted to scale up quickly, and building test infrastructure costs money, even if it is not used. It was difficult to estimate beforehand how much test demand there was, but now the test location in Zwolle appears to be no longer necessary."