'First a test, then a party': how to organise Christmas safely this year

'First a test, then a party': how to organise Christmas safely this year
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As the number of new coronavirus infections in Belgium is evolving favourably, virologist Steven Van Gucht gave some tips on how to celebrate the end-of-year festivities safely this year.

The current measures in combination with the booster vaccines should protect the population against the Omicron variant, but everyone can do their part with Van Gucht's "recommendations for the organisation of safe parties," he stressed.

"The first and most important tip: limit your contacts," he said during a press briefing on Friday. "There are no specific measures on the number of people you are allowed to invite, but keep it to a small circle of guests."

"As with all rules to fight the spread of the virus, the same goes here too: the fewer people, the better," Van Gucht stressed. Additionally, try to invite the same people for Christmas and New Year, like a maximum of two households or five single people.

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Test yourself before seeing others, even if you feel perfectly normal. "'First a test, then a party' should become the motto," said Van Gucht, referring to self-test. "And those who are ill should definitely stay at home."

Wearing a face mask can be useful, especially when greeting people. "If vulnerable people are coming, they may wish to wear an FFP2 mask for optimal protection."

Lastly, good ventilation remains important. "For example, choose the person with the biggest house to host the party. Put the windows on tilt, leave the cooker hood on, open the internal doors and if you have a CO2 meter, do not hesitate to use it."

"Measuring is knowing," Van Gucht stressed. "If the CO2 levels get too high, you can choose to open the windows completely or go outside for a while."

"And importantly: do not forget to enjoy the holidays," he added.

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