Belgium in Brief: The L-Word

Belgium in Brief: The L-Word
Credit: Belga/The Brussels Times

As the Belgian rate of infection continues its sharp increase, experts, parts of the population, and politicians are starting to worry about the possibility of a new lockdown.

At the press conference after the previous Consultative Committee, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stressed that the measures announced were taken to “avoid another lockdown.”

Just a week later, however, experts are questioning whether the current rules are enough.

“Until a few weeks ago, I would have said a new lockdown was impossible because of the high vaccination rate and the proactivity of the government,” virologist Marc Van Ranst told De Morgen.

“But now, I am afraid it might be possible. That proactivity turned out to be less than I thought,” he added. “I never thought that we would end up in a kind of second-wave scenario again, where we give warning after warning but measures are only taken when the house is already half on fire.”

Virologist Steven Van Gucht stressed that it is still too early to start seeing the effect of the measures that only took effect last weekend but said that he hoped “that people will spontaneously reduce their contacts.”

He “does not like to use the word ‘lockdown’ so quickly,” and emphasised that temporarily putting some risk activities on hold is an option as well.

“We now have an extra line of defence with the vaccine, but at the same time we have never had so much virus as now, certainly in Flanders,” Van Gucht said. “We really need to put the brakes on this, so we do not need to take drastic measures.”

What do you think? Are you afraid of a new lockdown? Do you think Belgium needs one?

Let @johnstonjules know (or @maajtee, since she wrote it today). 

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