The Flemish government will today present its plan for the re-opening of the country over the course of the summer months, with a view to a return to normal by October.
Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA) has referred the plan as the region’s Freedom Plan, and it is based on Flanders’ relative success at vaccinating the population, compared to the other regions.
“In Flanders, 95 percent of the over-75s have been vaccinated, in Brussels that is about 70 percent,” he told Het Nieuwsblad yesterday.
“I don’t understand why the cultural centre in, let’s say Turnhout should remain closed at a time when 90 percent of the people there are already vaccinated, simply because in Brussels the figure is only 70 percent.”
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The approach is controversial, but not unexpected. And the figures are not quite as much in Jambon’s favour as he suggests. While the difference for the over-75s is as he suggests, the relaxation of measures concern the entire population, and there the difference is much less marked.
This morning, for example, the latest figures from health institute Sciensano show that the vaccination level for the adult population as a whole was 30% in Brussels, 38% in Flanders and Wallonia alike, and 42% in the Eastern Cantons.
Details of the Freedom Plan are being held back until they have been presented to the federal ministers, but Jambon has already explained that the exit strategy involves a number of clear deadlines – at the beginning of June, July, August and September, leading up to the planned freedom on 1 October. Each step would be contingent on the vaccination levels, and on the occupation of hospital and ICU beds.
The ultimate goals are also clear: an increase in social contacts; and a clear picture of the future for the various sectors hardest hit by the corona measures – events, sport, culture and youth.