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Wallonia creates regional coronavirus crisis unit

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Belgium’s southern Walloon region has created a regional coronavirus unit as soaring infection rates overwhelm hospitals in the French-speaking region.

The creation of the regional crisis unit on Thursday, just a day ahead of a critical Consultative Committee meeting on the coronavirus unfolding amidst mounting cries for stern action from experts, including a new lockdown.

Yvon Englert, the former rector of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and former practitioner, will be the head of Wallonia’s Covid-19 unit as Delegate-General.

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Already dubbed “Wallonia’s Mr Covid” by the country’s Francophone press, Englert will be tasked with providing scientific advice to the government.

“He will namely follow the daily evolution of the epidemic and issue propositions regarding measures to contain the virus, as well as work to issue clear and transparent communication to citizens,” the government said in a statement.

Ahead of Friday, Wallonia has doubled down on calls for the need for urgent action to tackle the second wave of the pandemic, including limiting non-essential movement or shutting down non-essential sectors.

Earlier on Thursday, Wallonia’s interior minister said the southern region stood ready to act alone and take drastic steps towards lockdown if the Committee meeting on Friday shied away from imposing strict restrictions at a nationwide level.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times