The majority of Belgians do not expect their fellow countrymen to respect the most recent lockdown measures, a new study has shown.
Between 85-90% of Belgians do not think that people will respect the 'rule of four' placed on gatherings, according to the Great Corona Study by the University of Antwerp.
"Only 10 to 15% of people - in all age categories - think that other people will follow the rule well or very well," explained researcher Professor Thomas Neyens (UHasselt/KU Leuven) "The older generations tend to think that people sometimes will, sometimes won't follow the rules. In particular, we see less confidence in other households among the group of adults, e.g. 18 to 35-year-olds," he added.
Results have also shown that respondents said that they had avoided flocking to the shops and their friends, regardless of it now being partially allowed under the new measures.
Since Sunday 10 May, people are allowed to invite up to four guests in their homes, always the same ones. However, experts and politicians were quick to clarify that the fewer people you meet, the better. "43% of the respondents say they will not change anything in terms of their social contacts. They are not planning to meet extra people," Neyens said.
The results also show clear differences between the generations, and even between the sexes. Only half of the male respondents between 18 and 35 years old said they will follow the rule, compared to 80% of women over 65. Across the generations, women say they will respect the rule better.
The figures are the result of nine weeks of different surveys through which the university aims to chart how Belgians deal with the corona-measures imposed by the government. On Tuesday it was completed by 83,000 people, an increase of 3,000 compared to the previous week.
"This data helps us, among other things, to make better predictions based on simulation models and to monitor the well-being of young and old. The high number of participants indicates that many still find the study relevant," explained Professor Philippe Beutels (UAntwerp).
The next edition of the study will take place on Tuesday 19 May. People will be able to fill in the survey between 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM via this link.
Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times