De Waele was reacting to statements by Georges-Louis Bouchez, the head of the ruling Francophone liberals (MR), who the day before had said Christmas should not be celebrated “via Skype” and that gatherings of up to four people could still be possible.
“We will have a Christmas rush in the ICU in that case, we won’t be able to do it. Sorry, we can no longer do that,” she said.
Volgens @GLBouchez moet het lukken om Kerstmis met drie of vier personen te vieren. "Dan hebben we een Kerstmis-golf op intensieve zorg, maar die gaan wij niet opvangen. Sorry, dat doen we niet meer", zei Sabeth De Waele, diensthoofd Intensieve Zorg van UZ Brussel in #deafspraak. pic.twitter.com/uoIJ3mlmZ4
But the doctor warned against hastily relaxing the restrictions, which currently allow each person to have only one close contact outside their own household.
“People in healthcare do what they can,” she said, adding: “How often can you ask: Can you still come and help? I don’t know how much longer we’ll be willing to keep up that tour de force.”
As he confirmed that the government was exploring scenarios for the holidays, virologist and government advisor Marc Van Ranst noted that Christmas would hardly be the only holiday impacted by the global epidemic.
“Other religions have not been able to celebrate as usual, only with family,” he said, adding that, even as admissions were slowing down, hospitals were still in the thick of it.
“There are still 1,450 people in intensive care,” he said. “Yesterday, we saw another record of the number of people needing ventilation. There is no decline in the ICU yet, so I understand that they are sounding the alarm.”