The better we follow the rules, the sooner they can relax, Belgian PM urges

The better we follow the rules, the sooner they can relax, Belgian PM urges
Credit: Belga

The better everyone respects Belgium's measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, the sooner they can be relaxed, said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Even though virologist Marc Van Ranst on Friday morning stated that it was almost impossible to rule out additional restrictions if nothing changes soon, De Croo pointed to the importance of sticking to the rules already in force.

Van Ranst, who is part of the government's new expert group, pointed out that Belgium is once again heading for an R-number higher than 1, meaning the epidemic would be growing again.

The figures have dropped "very fast over the last six weeks," De Croo told VTM News on Friday. "That shows that the sacrifices we are asking for are producing results. Now we must persevere, all of us together."

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"In the meantime, I have just one appeal: we can all make sure that this R-number goes down. And that is by sticking to the rules: keeping our distance, not visiting people and being very careful," he added. "We should not wait for a decision to change our behaviour."

The thresholds of 800 infections and 75 hospital admissions per day before relaxations can be announced, however, are still far off if the figures continue to evolve at this rate.

"At the end of next week, there will be a Consultative Committee, where we will look at the figures," De Croo concluded.

On Friday morning, professor and dean of the health faculty at VUB Dirk Devroey, warned that Belgium urgently needed a "short, strict lockdown" to properly get the figures down again.

“At this rate, we will only reach the 800 mark in 14 weeks,” he said. “Without additional measures, we will not contain the virus and someone still dies from Covid-19 every 14 minutes in our country.”

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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