Belgium’s Consultative Committee, which has replaced the previous government’s National Security Council, will meet again on Friday, less than a week after the strict measures implemented by the committee went into force.
Faced with mounting pressure to tighten rules further, the agenda is expected to cover sport, culture and events. Belgian media has also pointed to mounting pressure from the francophone side of the country to further tighten the new rules.
“I think that we will have to take additional measures and that this will have to be done faster than the planned evaluation within two weeks. Otherwise, there is a high risk that the situation will escalate completely,” leader of the Francophone liberal MR party, Georges-Louis Bouchez, told multiple media sources on Wednesday.
In the interview, he called on the government to take stricter measures as early as Friday at the Consultation Committee, including a general face mask rule and additional restrictions in the sports sector.
Microbiologist and former Sciensano spokesperson Emmanuel André made similar calls, warning that a lockdown is the last remaining option the country has.
“We must no longer ask ourselves what we should close. We must ask ourselves what to leave open,” microbiologist and former Sciensano spokesperson Emmanuel André told RTBF on Wednesday. “Today, we have to talk about reconfinement. It is the only tool we have left.”
During the press conference last week, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke already announced that the protocols for the sport, culture and event sectors would be revised over the course of this week, and hopefully be ready by Friday, when the long-awaited “coronavirus barometer” should also be finished.
However, the suggestion that the general measures – such as the face mask rule – could also change is at odds with the information coming from the committee less than a week ago, which said the next point of evaluation would be in two weeks (so, next week).
Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times