Smaller bubbles, 1 hobby: agreement reached on stricter rules for children

Smaller bubbles, 1 hobby: agreement reached on stricter rules for children
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Belgium's different government have reached an agreement on stricter coronavirus measures for extracurricular activities of children and young people on Tuesday evening.

Extracurricular activities are often responsible for coronavirus infections, contact tracing showed, leading the different governments to agree on stricter measures.

While Belgium's different regions already agreed on these measures, the federal government still has to give its final go-ahead, reports De Morgen.

  • Activities for children under 12 years old may continue, but in smaller bubbles of maximum ten children (instead of 50). They will also have to choose only one hobby or leisure activity. Children who are usually part of a youth movement and also go to music school, for example, will have to pick one.
  • The rules for minors over 12 years old relax slightly. They were initially not allowed to gather, but will now be allowed to meet in a small bubble of maximum ten, but only in the open air. They will also have to choose only one hobby.

During the carnival holidays (15 to 21 February), many youth movements organise camps, without overnight stays. The reached agreement proposed to organise those camps in groups of 25 children, which is a halving compared to the bubbles of 50 now, according to Youth Minister Benjamin Dalle.

"Basically, these are activities that last four or five days," he said on VRT News. "They always involve the same bubbles and children obviously do not go to school during that week. Virologically, it is justifiable to distinguish between bubbles of ten in a school period, and bubbles of 25 in a holiday period."

Whether or not these measures will be implemented, and when, will be decided by the Consultative Committee, according to Dalle. "However, as far as the youth sector is concerned, I recommend that these stricter rules be applied as from next weekend."

According to experts, restricting after-school contact among children under 12 years old could be a good measure, as it is precisely these activities that often form the bridge between different class bubbles or schools.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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