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Belgian, Dutch coronavirus test labs hit peak capacity

by editor

COVID-19 testing facilities across Belgium and the Netherlands have reached peak capacity due to the surging infection rate. 

Belgium, which began new lockdown measures Monday, including a 4-day homeworking rule and the wearing of face coverings indoors, has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases and administered tests, straining testing facilities’ ability to keep up with demand.

“Right now we have the means to process some 100,000 tests in Belgium daily, but I doubt that we can process more than that,” Bruno Verhasselt, department head of Ghent University’s testing facility, told POLITICO.

“We are limited in our means, and we are reaching those limits,” Verhasselt said. Ghent University — part of Belgium’s testing operation which is called on when regular testing facilities are overburdened — has doubled its capacity to some 2,000 tests daily and is already employing its own students as staff. 

Belgium hit nearly 14,000 positive tests on Sunday, up from 10,000 last week.

Earlier this week, the Dutch public health department (GGD) announced it had also reached its limits — having processed 560,000 tests in one week. The GGD scrambled to increase capacity to 120,000 tests daily, but found that a shortage of staff was keeping it from achieving that goal, reported NOS. The country has topped 21,000 daily infections.

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