Belgium's Crisis Centre is urging people not to wait until the latest measures enter into force on Friday to follow them, during a press conference on Wednesday.
"Every day counts" if Belgium wants to flatten the rising curve of the number of hospital admissions, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
He urged people to immediately start following Flanders' latest measures, which were announced on Tuesday evening but will only enter into force on Friday from 6:00 PM. "Do not wait until Friday. What we are doing now will have a huge impact on the expected November peak," he added.
"However, it takes at least ten days before each new measure has an effect on hospitals," Van Gucht said. "So do not be discouraged if the figures do not start dropping immediately."
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Additionally, Van Gucht said that he understands that people are disappointed that previous efforts have failed to prevent a second wave.
"This period is one of the most difficult ones of this pandemic. In this bleak autumn, the virus is thriving," he said. "This will be our main test to regain control of the virus."
On Wednesday, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon defended his decision to have the rules kick in only on Friday evening, saying that time was still needed to pen down the regulations and to allow the cultural sector to prepare.
“But let it be clear: nobody is banned from applying the measures right away,” he said on Flemish radio. "It just takes a little time between political decision-making and implementing those things."
The mayors of several Flemish municipalities already announced that they did not want to wait to introduce the new rules, as "there is no time to waste," according to them.
In the meantime, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo invited the Minister-Presidents of the country's different regions on Wednesday, aiming to bring the different measures in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia more into line with each other.
“Our citizens and businesses all have the right to clear and unambiguous rules for the whole the country,” he said.
The Brussels Times