Belgium could start relaxing measures by Easter, expert says

Belgium could start relaxing measures by Easter, expert says
Credit: Belga

A “realistic date” for Belgium to start relaxing some coronavirus measures could be Easter, according to infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe.

While some are putting spring break (15 to 21 February) forward as a possible date for relaxations, Vlieghe said that will still be too early.

“It sounds good to say that we can reopen everything once we have vaccinated the vulnerable groups. But it is not that simple,” she said in an interview with De Tijd.

“Once we have [vaccinated] the residents and staff in residential care centres, we will be dealing with the whole group of people over 65 until well past March,” Vlieghe said.

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“Not only the very old people are in hospital, but also those in their forties, fifties or sixties. And then there are even younger people with underlying disorders,” she added.

On top of that, everyone is assuming that the vaccines are as good as the studies promise, according to her.

“I have confidence in that too, but we do not know how effective the vaccine will be in the longer term,” Vlieghe said, adding that we have to take into account that it could not work as well for a significant group of people, like the very elderly or people with immune problems.

However, she stressed that this does not mean we have to wait until everyone has been vaccinated before the first measures can be relaxed.

“It will be in stages, and always on the basis of the figures,” Vlieghe stressed. “But if you ask me if that can start during spring break, I think: that is too soon. Easter seems more realistic as an anchor point.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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