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Demand for increased coronavirus testing capacity in the Netherlands

Demand for increased coronavirus testing capacity in the Netherlands

Demand for increased coronavirus testing capacity in the Netherlands

The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) is asking for more coronavirus testing to be conducted at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as more holidaymakers seem to be bringing the virus back with them, but labs across the country are already unable to keep up with the number of tests conducted by the GGD.

Coronavirus testing centre at Schiphol

After being announced at a press conference on August 6, the testing centre at Schiphol opened on August 14 so all travellers from designated risk areas could be immediately tested upon arrival. However, the majority of the House of Representatives feel the current testing capacity is far too low. 

They are therefore calling for opening hours to be extended - the centre is currently only open from 6 am to 6 pm - and for the testing capacity to be increased - the centre can currently only test around 20 percent of travellers. 

Members of Parliament from a number of parties, including GroenLinks, D66 and the Labour Party (PvdA) are urging the Dutch government to make changes, saying the testing centre should be open for as long as there are flights from risk areas arriving. Suzanne Kröger, MP for GroenLinks, said: “The virus does not keep to office hours.”

Coronavirus as a holiday souvenir

On Monday, August 25, the RIVM reported that it was likely that a large number of people had returned from their holidays with the coronavirus. According to their figures, at least 170 people who tested positive in the last week became infected while on holiday. 

The RIVM has revealed that most of those had travelled to Spain, France or Turkey in the two weeks before they developed symptoms. A number of patients had also visited Germany or Hungary recently. 

Since July 6, seven percent of all people who have tested positive for coronavirus had become infected while on holiday.

Labs can't keep up with increased capacity

The Ministry of Health has said that the number of tests carried out has increased by 40 percent in the past week. They say the capacity at Schiphol is being scaled up in a controlled manner. 

Officials have also noted that with more people without symptoms getting tested, the strain on the GGD and testing labs is increasing rapidly. They have asked members of the public to only get tested when they are showing (significant) symptoms, and have asked local GGDs not to extend opening hours or increase testing capacity until the labs processing the tests are able to keep up with the number being carried out. 

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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