Belgium’s lockdown may become stricter if not respected, Di Rupo warns
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Belgium’s lockdown may become stricter if not respected, Di Rupo warns

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Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo urged citizens to respect Belgium’s return to lockdown, warning that an even stricter one could be imposed if there was a lack of compliance.

“The advise that I allow myself to give to citizens is: (…) bear, withstand it now in the hopes of having a more human month of December — in the hopes of being able to loosen the restrictions that we have today, ” Di Rupo said.

The head of Wallonia’s regional government did not mince words when warning that non-compliance with the measures would fuel the virus further, landing the country in an unchanged or even worse situation come December.

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“Otherwise, nothing will change and our hospitals are going to find themselves in a cataclysmic situation, having to choose between who to treat and who to let die.”

“The time is now. We must hold on,” Di Rupo, who had been outspoken about the need for the country to return to lockdown, said in an online interview with RTL.

His statements for a gradual return to normal from December come amid warnings from Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke and leading virologists that Belgium’s holiday period will be anything but normal as the country beats back the second wave.

Belgium’s return to lockdown, effective from Monday and until 13 December, has shut down a list of shops and businesses deemed non-essential or of high-risk, such as retail shops, hairdressers and estheticians.

In an effort to contain the spiralling infection rates, which have put enormous pressure on hospitals, the federal government on Friday also reduced social contacts and made teleworking mandatory.

“If this doesn’t work now, I fear that the confinement will have to become much stricter,” Di Rupo warned. “But if we follow [the lockdown] now, we may find ourselves distinctly better-off in December.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times