Brussels’ health minister self-isolates with coronavirus symptoms
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Brussels’ health minister self-isolates with coronavirus symptoms

Regional Health Minister Alain Maron said he developed "particular" symptoms of the new coronavirus (Covid-19). © Belga

Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron has gone into in self-isolation with a suspected case of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the minister confirmed Tuesday.

The regional minister said he had not been tested for the virus but that his doctor recommended he go into quarantine after he developed symptoms of the virus.

“Since last Saturday, I noticed a loss of taste and smell, quite particular symptoms of the virus, which suggests I must have it,” Maron said in an interview with La Capitale.

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In a study published on Wednesday, British scientists said that loss of taste and smell could be a more relevant sign than fever in diagnosing the virus.

“I must send updates on how my state [of health] evolves as well as of my temperature in order to ensure that my condition did not worsen,” he said.

As the pandemic spread in Belgium, Maron said he and his team quickly put in place precautionary measures, such as teleworking and respecting social distancing guidelines.

“Nevertheless, I contracted the virus, which shows that this is a virus that is very easily transmitted, very contagious,” he said.

Maron is one of at least two other government officials in Belgium to have publicly announced that they are or may be infected with the virus.

In the same week in March, Antwerp’s local health councillor, Fons Duchateau and Flanders’ regional work minister, Hilde Crevits, both announced they had gone into self-isolation.

Duchateau said he had tested positive for the virus and later announced he had been hospitalised (but has since been discharged), while Crevits said she would be working from home after a family member tested positive for the virus.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times