OMT: testing for corona no longer necessary, illness ‘is part of it’

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A test street in Rotterdam in January 2022
NOS NewsAmended

If it is up to the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), large-scale testing for the corona virus will no longer be necessary. The OMT advises further scaling down the GGD test lanes. The advice to do a self-test in the event of respiratory complaints may also be discontinued. The cabinet has yet to make the decision, but it is expected that the OMT advice will be adopted.

The latest advice from the OMT to the cabinet states that the Netherlands is in the so-called endemic phase with regard to the omikron variant (and subvariants) of the coronavirus. This means that the virus is dormant in society. There is no longer a pandemic.

According to the OMT, the GGD test lanes can largely disappear, but the GGD must be able to scale up again if necessary. For example, if a new variant emerges that makes large groups of people seriously ill, spreads quickly or is not detected by self-tests.

Providing free self-tests to schools and other groups, such as people with a minimum income and informal carers, is no longer necessary, according to the OMT.

No longer in isolation

According to the OMT, the other measures against the corona virus can also be adjusted. For corona, the “generic advice” may apply that also applies to other respiratory infections. These are the general advice about washing hands, sneezing in the elbow and staying home if you are sick.

For the time being, the advice applies to go into isolation for five days in the event of a positive corona test. As far as the OMT is concerned, that advice may lapse.

In principle, healthcare employees no longer have to wear a mouth and nose mask if they come within 1.5 meters of a patient, the OMT says. However, this may be wise for healthcare workers and informal carers if they work with patients who can become seriously ill from corona or another respiratory infection.

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