Coronavirus barometer will not be launched before it is 'perfect,' says PM

Coronavirus barometer will not be launched before it is 'perfect,' says PM
Credit: Belga

Belgium's coronavirus barometer - which was announced at the last National Security Council - will not be launched before it is perfect, according to new Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

"The first thing I am going to do is sit down with Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke," De Croo told VTM News, who assumed his position as Belgium's PM just as the country is seeing a new rise in coronavirus cases.

"Too often, in the past, things have been announced that were not clear. I want to avoid that," De Croo said, adding that the announced barometer will not be launched before it is "perfect."

The barometer - which will use a colour-coded system to grade the epidemiological situation - was first announced during the National Security Council on 23 September, when Wilmès said that it was not ready yet, but that authorities at a national, provincial and regional level were working on it.

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"Everyone must understand what is expected of them. It will become clear what you have to do if the figures move in the right direction or in the wrong direction," he said.

He was quick to stress that his statements were not a criticism of the previous government led by Sophie Wilmes. "She had to make do without a majority. The population can expect more from a government with a majority," De Croo said.

In the meantime, several hospitals - mainly in Brussels - have stated that their beds destined for coronavirus patients are all full, and experts are calling for stricter measures to be introduced.

"We see that the infection rate is rising, so the virus is circulating strongly," De Croo said. "Fortunately, we are seeing a stabilisation in our hospitals, but dealing with the pandemic is the number one priority. A too-fast rise must be avoided."

"I am not going to draw conclusions ahead of time," he said. "What we can do now is stick to the general rules. We all know what they are, but we do not always apply them."

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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