Mass quarantines seen in the Flemish towns of Edegem and Kontich could have been prevented if one woman had properly followed the rules, according to wide reports in Flemish media.
This incident, which would eventually land thousands in quarantine, also provides an opportunity to break down how one incident can very easily spread the virus.
With that in mind, here’s the timeline in Belgian media of how one woman managed to lead to thousands being placed in quarantine.
19 December: The unnamed woman goes on a ski trip to Switzerland on 19 December, leaving her daughter with her ex-husband.
26 December: The woman returns.
27 December: She collects her daughter, violating the rules that say she should have least seven days in quarantine and two tests.
28 December: She takes her first test, it comes back negative.
3 January: The woman takes her second test, it comes back positive – however during the time between test 1 & 2 the daughter has returned to the father.
4 January: The daughter returns to school.
7 January: The daughter, her father, and his family undergo tests for the coronavirus
8 January: They all test positive.
11 January: A general practitioner and a microbiologist from UZ Antwerp tell the family: “Extend your quarantine. This could be the British variant of the virus.”
4-7 January: However, by this point, it was too late – as in the days she had been at school the daughter had already infected another student. That other student, in turn, infected her mother, who teaches at a school in the nearby town of Kontich.
17 January: This was when the big change happened. In order to prevent further spread, both schools shut down – with a total of around 5,000 people placed in quarantine. This included students, teachers, their families, and even the mayor of Edegem.
“We agreed not to argue. But if everyone respected the rules, we wouldn’t be in such a situation,” the Mayor told HLN. “Thousands of people have to remain in quarantine because of the negligence of some.”
While the number of people in quarantine has spiked, the actual number of infections remains steady following tests on Monday, according to the Mayor.
18 January: 550 students and 50 staff members of a school in Edegem take a first test.
19 January: Results of the Edegem tests show three positive cases, two of whom are infected with the British strain. At the same time, 1,450 students and 250 staff members from the school in Kontich are tested, with results expected Tuesday evening or Wednesday.
Tests will happen again in a week’s time in order to be able to lift the quarantine.
The Brussels Times