More than one third of the coronavirus tests carried out in the Netherlands at present are being done by commercial testing centres, not those set up by the 25 regional health boards, according to research by current affairs television show EenVandaag.
There are now some 200 private test centres operating in the Netherlands, and, together with in-company initiatives, they were responsible from some 170,000 tests in the week to November 1, EenVandaag said. This is around one third of the weekly total.
While the results are supposed to be registered with the public health boards, there is no central reporting system for the commercial initiatives and this could lead to a misrepresentation of the true infection rates, some experts say.
‘You are losing part of your oversight and that is not a good thing,’ virologist Marion Koopmans from the Erasmus teaching hospital in Rotterdam, said. ‘You don’t know what proportion are positive.’
Commercial centres also carry out tests on people who don’t have symptoms but need a certificate for travel, or work, for example.
The health ministry said that work is underway on developing a portal where commercial testing centres can report their figures, which should be completed at the end of the month.
Officials have now written to all private testing centres reminding them of the requirement to register the results.