Breath tests detect COVID in Indonesia, Netherlands

And exhale.

The Netherlands will introduce rapid COVID-19 breath tests to sites across the country to speed up the testing process and make it less intrusive.

Facilities in Amsterdam started using the SpiroNose this week, a machine which requires a person to breathe into it to indicate a possible coronavirus infection within a minute.

Mariken van der Lubben from Amsterdam's municipal health services says that after months of trials, Dutch health authorities found the machine to be reliable in the case of negative test results.

A positive test needed to be followed by a regular PCR test to establish whether the detected infection was caused by the coronavirus.

"I think that of course it's much nicer to have this test than this swab in your nose and in your throat. So I hope that people will visit our test facility more often, so that's a good thing."

Indonesia also launched a similar screening programme at train stations on Wednesday (February 3).

Their breathalyzer, known as GeNose, was developed by the University of Gadjah Mada which says it has at least 95% accuracy.

Subjects are required to blow into a bag and the result is available in just two minutes. Though again results need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

Although there are shortcomings, an epidemiologist from Australia's Griffith University said the breathalyzer is "promising" and has "potential" to help with COVID-19 detection.