Inside Belgium's strategic plan for a second coronavirus wave

Inside Belgium's strategic plan for a second coronavirus wave
Credit: Belga

Belgium’s federal government has drawn up a strategic plan to deal with a second wave of coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in Belgium and prevent the errors of the first wave, the RTBF reports on Thursday.

The government wants to avoid a second wave altogether, keep it contained where necessary and, if not, manage the crisis.

The 83-page document sets out the government's long-term ambitions, including for buying and distributing a future vaccine against the coronavirus. The authorities also elaborate on how they are going to tackle seasonal flu.

The plan is based on two pillars: the first is to keep the virus under control, mostly by raising awareness and improving communication towards healthcare professionals and federal, regional and communal governments.

Part of this first pillar is to increase the number of coronavirus tests up to 51,000 tests per day by the end of September and make contact tracing more efficient through better communication with general practitioners.

The second pillar is to intercept a new wave of infections, with targeted measures which will be automatically applied when a certain threshold is reached, such as a local, regional or national lockdown.

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The plan also focuses on issues such as financing and decisions on equipment, the number of hospital beds and available respirators, the reinforcement of mobile hospital teams and access to psychological care.

The budgetary impact of the plan is estimated at just over €35 million this year, €45.5 million in 2021 and about €42.7 million on a structural basis.

The strategy was put in place with experts from, among others, the Sciensano health institute, the Federal Public Health Service, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products and the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance.

Belgium has counted over 68,000 confirmed cases and over 9,000 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brussels Times

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