NSC to discuss local lockdowns and reducing social contacts

NSC to discuss local lockdowns and reducing social contacts

The National Security Council (NSC) will meet on Monday to discuss the potential shrinking of social bubbles and implementing new lockdowns at a local level.

The newest meeting of the NSC will take place at 9:00 AM and comes only four days after the previous gathering last Thursday.

The prime minister and top-level government officials are expected to decide whether to shrink social bubbles down to 10 people from the current 15, which are allowed to change every week.

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The meeting was advanced after experts raised concerns that current measures were not enough to ward off a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic from hitting Belgium, pointing out the steady rise of new infections and other new-wave indicators.

State virologist Marc Van Ranst said the upcoming meeting is "the most important meeting to be held since March," back when the full-on lockdown was first imposed.

"We are acting earlier than during the first wave, we also want to stop [a new wave] earlier," he said, adding that it was still possible to "get things under control by 1 September," BX1 reports.

The NSC is also expected to discuss whether to impose new measures concerning shopping businesses, with experts pointing out that a trip to the shop opens the door to too many interpersonal contacts, which could be giving the virus more fuel.

Officials are also expected to discuss whether to roll-back relaxations previously imposed on the events sector, according to the outlet.

As the Antwerp and West Flanders provinces battle the emergence of new clusters of the virus, the governours have been invited to the NSC meeting to discuss the situation in their territories.

Boudewijn Catry, the current spokesperson for federal health institute Sciensano, said that the new NSC meeting must give "clearer signals to citizens" and avoid making previous mistakes, such as failing to lockdown nursing homes on time.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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