Last updated 4 months ago by Michael Darmanin
To reduce waiting time and increase testing capacity in the Netherlands, the Cabinet last week announced plans to significantly expand the testing options for coronavirus. Health Minister De Jonge informed the Lower House about opening seven extra-large (XL) centers in seven cities, including Utrecht.
The construction of this new large-capacity center has started in Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. It is likely to open for testing within two weeks. The XL location will have 40 separate test lanes where 10,000 people per day will be able to get tested. Jaarbeus is the central location in the city and has enough parking space for cars and bikes.
The construction work is ongoing at full swing at Utrecht, including during weekends. The testing will initially be administered by around 150 GGD employees at this location.
What will happen at XL locations?
The XL locations will help people with coronavirus symptoms to get themselves tested within a few hours. These centers will initially administer regular PCR tests. However, rapid testing will be also possible at a later stage. Though, it is not yet clear that who will be qualified for rapid testing.
At present, people with complaints will be prioritized for testing at these locations. The GGD is able to administer around 45,000 tests every day at present. The government wants to increase this capacity to about 90,000 per day by the end of November, and around 100,000 to 130,000 per day by the beginning of 2021. The Cabinet wants people without complaints to get tested as well. De Jonge had earlier mentioned that people who emerge from the source and contact investigation, or via the Corona Melder app as close contact to an infected person, should also be tested. With the increased testing capacity, the government also wants travelers from high-risk countries to be tested. This is how these XL locations will help the government.
These large capacity locations will also open in six other cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, Eindhoven, Groningen, and Arnhem. The centers are set up in collaboration with the employer’s organization VNO-NCW, municipalities, and defense personnel.
These testing centers will operate along with the existing GGD lanes, and not as a replacement.