Belgium ready for second coronavirus wave, minister says

Belgium ready for second coronavirus wave, minister says
There is no lack of medicine or protective equipment in case of a second wave, according to De Backer. Credit: Belga

Belgium is ready to deal with a possible second coronavirus wave, in terms of personal protective equipment (masks, etc.), medicines, tests and medical equipment, according to Minister Philippe De Backer.

As far as tests are concerned, Belgium is now in the world's top 10 when it comes to the number of screenings carried out per million inhabitants, De Backer told journalists as he took stock of the work of the task forces created in the context of the pandemic.

The clinical laboratories will be able to take over the testing role again, he said, estimating that there are enough "immunity" tests available.

There is also no lack of medicines or protective equipment should there be a resurgence of infections, according to De Backer.

There is a decentralised strategic stock of 87 million surgical masks, more than 4 million aprons, about 90,000 face protectors (visors) and more than 38 million gloves for the nursing staff. On top of this, there is a federal stock with about 200 million surgical masks, more than 33 million FFP2 masks, nearly 20 million aprons, half a million visors and nearly 2 million gloves.

De Backer also praised the “exceptional performance of Defence,” which had a 7-out-of-7 day service and a very professional and efficient approach according to the minister.

Meanwhile, virologist Marc Van Ranst says Belgium is not ready for a second wave, warning of a worst case scenario in which a second wave would occur at the same time as a flu epidemic.

“It is definitely not out of the question, and then you’ll get the perfect storm. Like we’ve never seen one before,” Van Ranst told the VRT. “It would be a tough test, with a lot of confusion. Because anyone with a fever or a cough will think he or she has Covid, and then need to be tested.”

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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