THE HAGUE, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Starting from Monday, an official COVID-19 test is no longer needed in the Netherlands to confirm whether someone is infected with the virus, according to the Dutch government.
A self-test is the starting point from now on for determining if someone is infected with COVID-19. This means that it is no longer necessary to have this confirmed by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), as was usual before.
A GGD test remains possible for specific groups, for example, people who work in healthcare or who cannot use a self-test. A formal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test can still be requested by people who need proof of health, like those traveling abroad.
"Self-tests are reliable for testing complaints, widely available and provide a quick result," the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport said in a statement. "In addition, advice will be made available to help people if they or someone close to them gets a positive test result."
With the use of self-tests, people get more responsibility for themselves. "It is still very important to go into isolation when there is a positive self-test," said the ministry. "This prevents other people from being infected."
Now that testing at the GGD is no longer the starting point, the coronavirus will be monitored in a different way and no longer by collecting positive GGD tests. "We keep a close eye on how the virus spreads and whether new variants arise through the sewage water, samples and on the basis of hospital admissions and the situation in nursing homes," said the ministry.