Corona Commission and GEMS expert group cease activities

Corona Commission and GEMS expert group cease activities
Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon. Credit: Belga

The GEMS expert group that has advised the government and the Corona Commissioner’s office on how to coordinate Belgium’s coronavirus policy, ends its mandates on Friday 8 April (today).

In early March, Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon stated that his office would stop its work on 8 April, as the epidemiological situation makes it possible to "phase out crisis management."

"There are plans ready, which vary according to the type of variant we might have to deal with. You can never assume that it is all over but we are sufficiently prepared. It is the right time to stop," he said in an interview with De Morgen in March.

"I know from experience that it is much easier to set up structures than to dismantle them. But politically and socially, it is important to give a signal with the end of the commissionership that we are moving to another phase," Facon added. His assignments will be now passed on to the Federal Public Health Service and the Crisis Centre.

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Meanwhile, the GEMS expert group – which is to assist the Consultative Committee – is also stopping its work today, but will remain available to advise the government should the virus flare up again, or should a new variant emerge.

In a report submitted to the Corona Commission just last week, the experts of the GEMS suggested that returning to ‘code orange’ on the barometer should be considered in this stage of the pandemic.

However, politicians are reportedly not in favour of this scenario, in which a number of restrictions – including the Covid Safe Ticket – would enter into force again, and Facon himself also stated that "the current situation is clearly yellow" for the Commission.

The next Consultative Committee meeting to analyse the situation in the country is planned to take place after the Easter holidays, on Friday 22 April.

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