Antwerp’s local health councillor is infected with the new coronavirus, according to an announcement he posted on Facebook on Sunday.
“The coronavirus has me in its grip,” Fons Duchateau wrote, adding that he could no longer go by an ‘it will not happen to me’ mindset.
Duchateau said the onset of symptoms started on Thursday, as he experienced fever and joint pain and that he was sure of having contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, since Monday.
“I’m very happy to have isolated myself from work colleagues, friends and family from the first symptoms,” he wrote. “I hope they will be spared.”
The member of the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie said that the disease had so far been following a “favourable course,” saying that his fever remained under control and that he had so far experienced no breathing problems, one of the most serious complications of the disease.
Duchateau urged the public to be wary, not only for themselves but also for their “immediate environments” calling out those who kept “pretending” the virus was like a flu by referring to their behaviour as borderline “criminal.”
On Monday, schools in Belgium reported low levels of attendance and the government issued orders for all outdoor playgrounds to shut down, stepping up efforts to ensure that citizens abide by social distancing guidelines in order to slow down the advancement of the pandemic in the country.
Duchateau is not the first public official known to have contracted the virus, with at least one employee with the federal public finance services also counted among Belgium’s confirmed cases. The country hit the 1,000-mark on Monday, with authorities also reporting a fifth death.
“Take care of each other, keep your distances,” Duchateau wrote urging the public to adhere to the experts’ guidelines and adding: “We no longer have the [coronavirus] under control.”