Coronavirus: weekly saliva tests for teachers? The new strategy of the Minister of Health

The Federal Minister of Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, was the guest of the morning of Bel RTL. Asked by Fabrice Grosfilley, he spoke about the threat posed by variants and their contagiousness in schools. He wants to set up recurrent testing for teaching staff.

The Minister of Health wants to be vigilant with regard to the spread of variants, especially in schools. He comments on a report on these establishments according to which there are more cases in children under 12 and than in adolescents: “This observation is also linked to the fact that we have tested a lot of children but we now know that there can still be contamination via children”.

Frank Vandenbroucke poursuit: “There are schools in which there is a lot of contamination and others in which there is very little. So there are differences and that is encouraging in a way”, he says.

A more proactive screening strategy

The Minister wants to keep schools open and develop a more proactive testing strategy. As soon as there is an outbreak of cases in an institution, large-scale screening is launched.

Frank Vandenbroucke mentions the possibility of setting up a system of recurrent testing of teaching staff, via saliva tests, for example every week. “It is not yet decided but the Ministers of Education are very interested and they have contacts with the testing task-force which put forward the idea to start such a strategy”, specifies the Minister. The goal would be to very quickly identify a focus / cluster of coronavirus in a school.

If this option is chosen, this generalized test of teachers will require significant logistics, it will take several days, weeks to set it up. The systematic saliva test could be launched initially in a number of pilot schools, before being validated and extended to the whole country.

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