Breaking the rules for one day on Christmas or New Year can result in an extra month of lockdown, health officials stated during a press conference on Monday.
“These holidays will be exceptional, and we are forced to celebrate them in a restricted circle,” virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
“Celebrating at home with family and friends gives a sense of security, but that is a false feeling as far as the virus is concerned,” he said. “It is at home that most of the infections happen.”
“If 20% of the population invites four people, we will reach the threshold [for relaxations] of 75 hospital admissions per day with a delay of one month,” Van Gucht said, referring to experts’ prediction models.
“That means that one day of celebrating would put us in lockdown for one additional month,” he said. “The curve is in our hands, not in the hands of the virus.”
Additionally, recent results from the Great Corona study by the University of Antwerp show that 79% of participants intend to comply with the measures during the holidays.
The result is “encouraging,” as the figure is an increase compared to previous studies, according to Van Gucht.
Belgium must avoid the ‘Thanksgiving effect’ that was seen in the United States, where the number of cases exploded after the holidays, when people travelled across the country to see friends and family.
“The Christmas holidays can help us, but the celebrations can also throw a spanner in the works,” Van Gucht said. “So, do not make Christmas a feast for Covid, but keep it nice, small and safe.”
The Brussels Times