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Flemish Work Minister says family member has coronavirus

Flanders' work minister, Hilde Crevits, said she will be working for home after a family member tested positive for the new coronavirus. © Belga

Flemish Minister for Work Hilde Crevits said she will be working from home after one of her family members tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Corona (sic) has been identified in our family,” Crevits wrote on Twitter. “In accordance with medical guidelines, I will be working from home for the coming period.”

The Flemish minister’s announcement comes as the number of confirmed cases of the virus, which has put Spain and Italy under nationwide lockdowns, continues to spread in Belgium.

On Monday, federal health authorities said there were now 1,058 confirmed cases of the virus in Belgium after 172 people tested positive over the weekend.

Belgium on Monday also reported its fifth death, which came after a weekend which saw Italy report its deadliest day, Spain’s death toll more than double and several EU countries record new mortality records.

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Crevits’ statement comes just hours after Antwerp’s health councillor also said he had tested positive for the virus, making the work minister the second official in Flanders to have publicly declared being affected by the deadly pandemic.

As the caretaker federal government announced it would be taking over the country’s response to the managing the public health crisis, Crevits’ cabinet announced an influx of cash and other premiums in a bid to limit the virus’ impact on companies in the Dutch-speaking region.

The Flemish minister did not offer specifics regarding the number of confirmed cases of the virus within her family nor on her own state of health.

A spokesperson for Crevits said her cabinet would be following the official personal hygiene guidelines and that staff would work from home where possible.

They also added that a test for the work minister was not currently necessary according to the country’s testing rule, and declined to provide a comment on whether Crevits had come into contact with other members of the Flemish government.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times