Today I’m writing another one ahead of a meeting that wasn’t supposed to be until the end of the week. But by now we’re probably used to the unexpected.
Belgium’s Consultative Committee meets today to talk new rules in light of worsening figures. So what’s up for discussion?
- More masks? You bet.
- Expanding the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) across Belgium? Probably, but with rules to be ironed out.
- Strongly encouraging teleworking? Looking likely.
- Activating the pandemic law? Seems so.
What’s definitely NOT on the table (according to De Croo & others)?
- Closing any sectors.
- Initiating another lockdown.
Now, as always, I cannot stress enough that nothing is confirmed until De Croo says so. That said, this meeting feels particularly weird. After months of covering these things, I’ve come to expect a little more build-up as the relevant actors get to make their points on what’s to come.
But this time, that part of the dance has felt a little absent, and I could hazard a guess at the why…
For a while it seemed that things were looking up in Belgium’s battle against the coronavirus. Sure, it was never plain sailing, but compared to the start of the year, things were a whole lot better. Perhaps, as virologist Steven Van Gucht put it, we were feeling a little TOO good.
“Thanks to the fact that our vaccination rate is so high, we can give ourselves more freedom today, but I think we have allowed ourselves a bit too much,” Van Gucht said during an analysis of the rising corona figures on Radio 1. “October was a month of parties and mussel festivals and we see that in the figures. It is now time to slow things down again.”
Maybe that’s why this is all a little jarring – even more so than the last-minute nature of it all. Things got steadily worse, then got steadily better.
I’m starting to realise I never quite believed we’d be taking steps back, and certainly not so soon.
See you after the meeting for the news?
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