'Nothing is cast in stone,' says Prime Minister Wilmès on deconfinement

'Nothing is cast in stone,' says Prime Minister Wilmès on deconfinement
© Belga

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès stressed on Sunday that the resumption of activities following the confinement prompted by the novel Coronavirus would be an evolving process in which the health situation would be assessed before going on to the next stage.

“Nothing is cast in stone,” Prime Minister Wilmès said on RTL-TVi, referring to Friday’s meeting of the National Security Council and the decisions taken there.

“The dates announced are indicative dates. Whenever we need to move on from one stage to the next, we are going to make sure the health situation allows it. This is something that needs to become evident.”

Emphasizing the evolving nature of the deconfinement process, she added: “We do not have answers to everything. That’s normal. We are in the process of reinventing the functioning of society. That’s no trifling matter.”

Ms. Wilmès said certain decisions would be finetuned, such as the issue of social distancing, with the help of the national group of experts on deconfinement, GEES.

“We shall be working next week with GEES to limit access to businesses and limit the crowd effect,” she said. “We could then also say, ‘when going shopping, go alone’. We could also decide that such and such a person may go shopping at a given time of the day, etc. “

The Prime Minister justified the lateness of Friday’s press conference, which was held at 10.00 p.m. “We’ve never done deconfinement,” she said, adding that this was no simple process.

Noting that preparatory meetings were held last week, she explained that “what took time was making sure we reached agreement at the same time on the same things.”

“It’s a good thing that we were able to reach an agreement between the federal and federated bodies,” she said. “It’s important to safeguard the consensus, otherwise it could later unravel, which would be unacceptable.”

"When we take decisions, we announce them immediately,” the Prime Minister said.

“Even if it’s 10:00 p.m., and I am very sorry for the wait. I prefer decisions to be taken in a rigorous manner, and to be announced immediately after.”

The Brussels Times

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