Experts and politicians to take part in live ‘corona debate’
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Experts and politicians to take part in live ‘corona debate’

Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block (centre), flanked by infectious disease expert Erika Vielghe, virologist Marc Van Ranst (left) and Flemish Education Minister Wouter Beke and virologist Steven Van Gucht (far right). © Belga

Belgian broadcasters have set up a live debate which will see a group of experts and federal ministers discuss the impacts of the new coronavirus.

The debate is set to be live-streamed online on Saturday morning on the sites of public Dutch-language broadcaster VRT and its commercial counterpart VTM, and will last two hours, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Dubbed the ‘Coronadebate,’ the event will include experts with the government’s coronavirus and lockdown exit task forces and the federal ministers who have been involved in handling the crisis.

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Among the participating health experts are virologist Marc Van Ranst, infectious disease expert Erika Vielghe and pulmonologist and director of the UZ Brussel hospital, Marc Noppen.

The governor of the National Bank, Pierre Wunsch —who also sits in the government’s Economic Risk Manage Group— and Pieter Timmermans, the head of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises, will also take part.

On the side of the politicians, there will be Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block, Finance Minister Alexander De Croo and president of the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) party, Bart De Wever.

The debate will be moderated by anchors with the broadcasters who will steer the participants as they debate issues like the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on public health and on the country’s economy.

The results public survey launched ahead of the event to poll Flemish people about how the deadly pandemic had impacted their live are set to be aired during the debate, in which viewers are also invited to participate by sending in questions with the hashtag: #coronadebat.

According to the latest figures on Thursday, Belgium reported than over 600 people had tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total tally, including the death and recovered, to more than 51,420.

Health officials monitoring the epidemiological situation daily said that the virus’ curve was evolving positively in the country, with less than 100 deaths and hospital admissions reported nearly every day since the start of the week.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times