'Coronavirus pandemic is not over yet,' warns Vandenbroucke

'Coronavirus pandemic is not over yet,' warns Vandenbroucke
Federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke. Credit: Belga

The coronavirus epidemic is not yet over and it cannot be ruled out that Belgium will be in trouble again after the summer, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said in Parliament on Tuesday.

Vandenbroucke wants a legal framework for the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to be established quickly, if the planned discussion in the Consultative Committee after the Easter holidays shows that it could still be useful in the future.

"Covid is not over yet," he said. "The fact that for a few months now we are in a very manageable situation does not mean that we will not be in stormy weather after the summer."

Being careful not to cheer too soon (again) is "an important history lesson that we should remember from the past," Vandenbroucke said. On Tuesday, he did not want to get ahead of the discussion that will take place at the Consultative Committee in the second half of April.

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Yet, if it is decided that the CST could be useful after all – as part of the current 3G (vaccinated, recovered, tested) system or only under the 1G (fully vaccinated) format – work must be done quickly on a legal framework that prepares Belgium to activate it if and when it becomes necessary.

Additionally, Vandenbroucke drew attention to the pressure that may arise on hospitals and called for solidarity. "The new increase in the number of infections is not explosive, so there is no reason to panic," he said.

However, there is a lot of circulation of the virus, with a recent increase in hospital admissions. The number of Covid-19 patients being admitted is also creating more pressure while the flu is present and hospitals are still catching up on postponed care.

Vandenbroucke also called on the population for a more positive view of certain easy tools to fight the virus, such as wearing a face mask.

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