BRUSSELS – Back to work soon?

Belgian minister Philippe De Backer (Open VLD), who heads the task force for the management and supply of COVID-19 equipment, has proposed to increase testing to determine who may be immune to the coronavirus and able to go back to work as soon as the peak has been reached.

Read also: Belgium extends COVID-19 lockdown by two weeks until 19 April

Belgium will in the next few days increase its testing capacity from 2,000 to 10,000, De Backer said in an interview with Le Soir during the weekend.

“The tests will allow us to see how the epidemic has spread and who can go back to work,” De Backer said. According to the minister, there are three groups of people who are currently staying at home: the sick, people working from home and those temporarily unemployed.

Anyone who wants to start working again would first have to take an immunity test with the GP, De Backer said. However, De Backer rejected the idea of testing the whole population. “Testing 10 million people across the country is impossible,” he said.

“A few weeks ago, these tests were completely unreliable,” the country’s top virologist, Marc Van Ranst, told VRT Nieuws, adding that “after a few weeks, we now have very good tests”. (Alexandra Brzozowski |

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