Saturday 19 September 2020

Schiphol coronavirus test centre is closed down, amid capacity problems

Coronavirus testing at Schiphol airport. Photo: Brandon Hartley

The drop-in coronavirus test centre at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport will be closed from September 12 because of a lack of capacity at labs which process the swabs.

The airport authorities said in a statement that the decision to close the Schiphol centre will free up testing capacity for test centres elsewhere.

The test centre was opened in mid-August for people returning to the Netherlands from areas with a red or orange risk profile, but has been criticised for restricted opening times.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge told MPs that the Schiphol test centre is being closed because it was an ‘experiment which has now been completed’.

The project will now be evaluated and the results used to decide what to do about testing at airports. ‘The availability of test capacity and innovative tests will be part of that,’ De Jonge said in a briefing.

The government is also considering giving priority at drive in test centres to teachers and some healthcare workers, because of the lack of lab capacity to process the test material.

De Jonge said it will still take several weeks for new laboratory capacity, including labs abroad, to get up to speed.

In the meantime, he urged people not to make use of commercial testing labs, because they are taking capacity which should be utilised by the public sector, he said.

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