Next Consultative Committee brought forward to tomorrow

Next Consultative Committee brought forward to tomorrow
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. Credit: Belga

Belgium's next Consultative Committee meeting is being brought forward to Friday to discuss stricter measures to stop the continuing rise of the coronavirus figures, announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

This evening, the core cabinet – consisting of the Prime Minister and deputy prime ministers – is also meeting, possibly in preparation for the Committee on Friday.

"Today, when we look at the degree of occupancy in ICU, and when you see that it is worse than the worst-case scenario that the experts presented last week, we will have to do something," De Croo said in parliament on Thursday afternoon.

"That is why the Consultative Committee will meet early tomorrow," he added. "We are going to have to look at a package of measures."

"However, if we take measures, they will have to be followed," De Croo stressed, adding that "measures have no effect if they are not respected."

The meeting will be held over videoconference from 8:00 AM, and will be followed by a press conference to announce the latest decisions, a spokesperson for De Croo told The Brussels Times.

The last Consultative Committee only took place last week (Wednesday 17 November) but the measures that were taken then – such as mandatory teleworking and face masks in nightclubs and fitness centres – do not seem sufficient to reverse the rising curve.

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In recent days, all of Belgium's provincial governors, as well as the hospitals and general practitioners, have already called on the government to take additional measures as soon as possible.

The pressure of the rising infection figures has reportedly become too great to wait any longer, and Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden already hinted that a new Consultative Committee meeting could still happen before the end of the week.

“If it is necessary to act, we must do so,” she said on Flemish radio on Thursday morning. “We have always said that we can move quickly when we need to, and if the numbers are now presenting themselves in such a way that action is needed, we must also make decisions.”

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