‘Unheard of’: Flemish hospital calls police as visitors refuse to follow tightened rules

‘Unheard of’: Flemish hospital calls police as visitors refuse to follow tightened rules
Credit: Belga

As the number of coronavirus cases is rising again, the Jessa Hospital in the Limburg province has had to call the police twice because some people refuse to respect the stricter visiting rules.

Due to the increasing number of Covid-19 patients, the hospital decided to tighten up the visitor regulation last Friday: each patient may now receive only one visitor per day (instead of two), for one hour.

“We understand that the tightened visitor regulation is not popular, but it is in the interest of our patients and our staff,” spokesperson Lieve Ketelslegers told De Morgen.

“Unfortunately, we had to call the police twice on Monday to restore calm,” she added. “There were two people who wanted to visit together at an hour when that was not possible and they had not booked online, but they still wanted to enter the hospital at any cost.”

The police sent the people away, Dorien Baens of the Limburg Region Capital police zone confirmed to Het Laatste Nieuws.

“It concerned a man who always visited a patient together with his mother, while the Jessa Hospital now only allows one visitor per patient within certain hours,” she said. “One time, our team did indeed have to intervene.”

The Jessa Hospital is calling for more respect for its regulations, adding that people are becoming more and more aggressive. “The fact that visitors go crazy because they do not show any understanding for this visitor regulation is really unheard of.”

Other hospitals, too, have also adjusted their visiting regulations in the meantime. At the UZ Brussel, a patient is allowed to receive two permanent visitors per day, between 2:00 PM and 6:30 PM, but only if visitors apply for a visitor’s card at the main entrance.

This regulation was added on top of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST), which is compulsory for every visitor in Brussels hospitals since 15 October.

The Sint-Trudo hospital in Sint-Truiden (in Limburg) also introduced the use of the CST, and the AZ Diest implemented a total ban on visits (with an exception for the palliative care, paediatrics and maternity departments).

Since Monday, the ZNA-hospitals in Antwerp allow one visitor per patient per day, similar to the ZOL hospital in Genk, where one person may visit for two hours per day.


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