Director of European RIVM: after second wave of mass assays on corona

Once the second wave of coronavirus infestations is over, mass teasing could help prevent a third wave. In addition, the entire population of a region where the virus is flaring up should be tested. This is what the head of the ECDC, the European umbrella organisation for, among others, RIVM, says in an interview with DeccEit.

โ€œ We now have to figure out what to do to prevent a third wave,โ€ says ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. โ€œMass tests are a method, especially when mass testing is carried out with rapid testing and the results are quickly available. You should repeat that with a certain regularity.โ€

The idea is not new. Slovakia tried to test the entire population in one weekend. In Belgium, scientists even advocate weekly testing of the entire population after this wave. By analysing test results from hundreds of individuals at the same time, the laboratories could handle that too. The condition is that there are far fewer coronavirus infections than at present.

โ€œ Those mass stories will take out people who have no or very few symptoms at all. By isolating them, the virus will not be able to spread further,โ€ says Ammon. โ€œIts a good idea from one point on. Maybe not for whole countries, but for a certain area where we see that there are still infections.โ€

EU not yet over peak

the time being, EU countries are still in the second wave, says Ammon. In the Netherlands, the number of infections may decrease somewhat in recent weeks, but this is not the case throughout the Union. โ€œWe see the increase slowing down, but we can only say that we have had the peak when we really go down. It is too early to say: we are relaxing the measures.โ€

Ammon also warns against too much optimism about a vaccine, about which positive reports came last week – again today. โ€œAt an early stage, they will not immediately render the measures superfluous,โ€ she expects. โ€œIt will depend heavily on the properties of a vaccine. How well do they work? How many people want to get vaccinated? We really have to wait and see that. In any case, vaccines are not a panacea.โ€