Following the enormous peak of corona infections in China, the government is taking a number of measures to monitor the consequences for our country more closely. For example, wastewater from aircraft from China that land in our country will be tested. Anyone who shows corona symptoms up to seven days after a stay in China must always get tested. This must be done with a test that can detect variants. Federal Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) announced this during a press conference.
own reporting, The Guardian
Analyzing waste water from aircraft
Wastewater from large cities has been studied for some time in order to detect the corona virus and any disturbing variants thereof. Vandenbroucke now wants to extend that idea to the waste water from the planes traveling from China to Brussels Airport.
According to the minister, consultations are already underway with Brussels Airlines to see whether it is technically possible. It would be two flights a week. The idea comes from the United States. Testing the wastewater from international aircraft is a better way to detect the virus than having people take a PCR test upon arrival, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With serious doubts over China’s transparency on coronavirus data, these tests could provide a clearer picture of how the virus mutates.
Test travelers with symptoms
Vandenbroucke wants to use testing sparingly, given the cost price. That is why only people are tested who show corona symptoms in a period of seven days after a stay in China. These tests can be administered by pharmacists and healthcare providers.
It is important that the tests used can also detect variants. There is a fear that the massive spread of the corona virus in China will lead to new, dangerous variants that will be brought to Belgium by plane.
Plea at European level
Minister Vandenbroucke wants to plead with his European colleagues for a mandatory negative test when boarding an aircraft. He does point out, however, that it is only useful if this applies to all flights to the European Union. A large number of people come from China to Belgium via an airport in another country and then come to our country by bus or train.
On Wednesday, the member states of the European Union will meet to consider a common response to travelers from China. The federal health minister takes the measures after meeting on Monday with the Risk Management Group, the group of health experts that advises on protective measures.
How bad is the situation in China? And what about new corona variants? Steven Van Gucht answers your questions (+)
Should Belgium demand a negative corona test from Chinese tourists such as the US and Italy? (+)
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