In provinces where less than half of the intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, hospitals are again allowed to perform non-urgent non-Covid procedures.
All Flemish hospitals can scale down from phase 2A to phase 1B, which means that they can start catching up on all the procedures that were postponed earlier.
"It concerns surgeries that could be postponed for a while, including heart procedures, operations on the carotid artery or certain cancer treatments," Marcel Van Der Auwera of the Federal Public Health Service told Het Nieuwsblad. "Those operations are all followed up by a stay in intensive care."
Hospitals can only scale back to phase 1B on the condition that less than half of patients in ICU are coronavirus patients, which is the case in all of Flanders, but not in Brussels, Hainaut and Namur.
"Unfortunately, the hospitals there still have to postpone non-urgent care," said Wendy Lee, spokesperson for the FPS Public Health. However, it is expected that the threshold for scaling down will soon be reached there as well.
The next phase will be 1A, in which all operations may be performed again. For that to happen, less than a quarter of hospitals' intensive care beds can be occupied by Covid-patients.