The Flemish care umbrella organisations again called for the Covid Safe Ticket to be made compulsory for visitors to hospitals and residential care centres in Flanders.
This obligation to show your Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will likely come into force on 1 October in the Brussels-Capital Region, but the umbrella organisations also want this to be the case in Flanders, according to reports from De Morgen.
"Our hospitals are unanimous in requesting the CST for visits," Margot Cloet of care organisation Zorgnet-Icuro told the newspaper.
With the CST, people can prove that they have been vaccinated, have recently tested negative or recovered from the virus in the last six months.
Once Brussels introduces the system, Flanders cannot be left behind, according to Cloet. "Firstly, to make it clear to everyone that it is very important to get vaccinated."
"Secondly, to ensure that hospitals are as Covid-free as possible. If you are vaccinated, it is less easy for you to become infected and less easy for you to pass on the virus," she added. "We also want to protect our staff that way."
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Cloet stressed that this way, even the most vulnerable patients - such as palliative care patients - can get visitors in a relatively safe way, even if the visitors are not vaccinated.
"The alternative is to have a test taken and present the result. That way you can show that you are not infected with the coronavirus," she added.
However, healthcare institutions are currently not yet organised for CST controls, but they will start looking into how it can be done practically.
"I think it is just hyper-important to send the signal now that we absolutely want the virus to stay out of residential care homes and out of hospitals," Cloet said.
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke is in favour of the idea. "Personally, I think it is a good proposal. It ensures safety for the care personnel and for the people staying in the hospital," he told VRT.
"That way, you can be sure that whoever comes into the hospital has either been vaccinated or - if not - tested negative for Covid."
However, Vandenbroucke also stressed that the ball is no longer in his court, as the legal framework is currently being adapted to allow the regions to decide on possible wider use of the CST.
"That should make it possible to use the Covid Safe Ticket to visit hospitals or retirement homes, if a regional government so wishes," he added.
Meanwhile, Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke announced that he will discuss the proposal within the Flemish Government, at least for Flemish care institutions.
He has also asked the Flemish Care Taskforce, in which the care umbrella organisations are also represented, for advice.
The Brussels Times