Here we go again – the Consultative Committee returns (already for the second time this year) and with it, the flurry of attention as Belgians wonder what new turns might be in store for the country’s Covid strategy.
Before we get carried away in the excitement of the moment, the truth is that very little is likely to change – at least for now. Records are being set for new cases and the outlook beyond Belgian soil looks similarly bleak.
Belgium’s leading virologists and public health ministers have been urging caution as criticism grows about their approach being too science-driven with little regard for the wider social consequences. And despite indications that the now dominant Omicron variant is often more akin to flu for those who test positive, it nonetheless continues to wreak havoc in many areas of society.
All things considered, Belgium’s coronavirus campaign isn’t yet set for a shake-up.
This is a far cry from the UK’s lifting of rules that, by comparison to measures on Europe’s mainland, weren’t even particularly strict. In England, regulations are soon to become recommendations as the country’s biggest cheerleader – Boris Johnson – scabbles to create headline-catching good news that will deflect from the seemingly endless parties held in his home when the rest of the country was denied almost any form of social engagement.
Whether the population will embrace their liberty and forgive him all naughtiness remains to be seen. For the record, he really is regretful about his “misjudgements” and showed all the sincerity of a schoolboy caught out after fervently denying any wrongdoing until the evidence against him was incontrovertible.
But Belgium is not blessed with such swashbuckling premiers who feel that bowing to public pressure is the only way to save their political prospects. Instead, we have been promised a barometer – a nifty tool to clarify the epidemiological direction the country is headed in. Lawmakers will hope that this will make future policy changes predictable and justifiable, thus unifying citizens behind the common cause.
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Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet again this afternoon to discuss the long-awaited coronavirus barometer and a medium-term strategy to manage the pandemic in the country. Read more.
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