Coronavirus: Belgium will end lockdown in phases

Coronavirus: Belgium will end lockdown in phases
Credit: Belga

A group of high-level experts will start preparing a gradual way out of Belgium's lockdown that was imposed to contain the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced on Thursday.

The group "will be chaired by someone from the scientific world, because it will always be health first," Wilmès said. Experts from the economic and social world will also be a part of the preparations.

"We need to work on a scenario for a way out of the crisis as of now," Wilmès said during a plenary session of the House of Representatives on Thursday. Last Friday, Wilmès announced that the far-reaching measures would be extended until at least 19 April, with a possibility of a further extension until 3 May. The measures include only leaving one's home when it is absolutely necessary, a ban on public gatherings, and the closing of schools.

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It's not the first time a deconfinement in steps is suggested. Minister of Economy Nathalie Muylle recently said reopening schools should take priority over other businesses. Another option would be to "split the population into two parts, keeping high-risk populations (with infected contacts, the elderly...) confined and releasing low-risk people," according to l'Echo.

Federal Public Health Minister Maggie De Block also addressed the House, reflecting on the confusion surrounding who should and shouldn't wear mouth masks. "We keep repeating that we follow the WHO guidelines. Mouth masks have little added value and can even give a false sense of security," she said.

"Don't sow any more unrest about this (...). We have a sufficient stock of masks and gloves for those who need them. That's not easy in a situation of global scarcity," she added.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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