'Not keeping unnecessary measures': Verlinden wants CST to end soon

'Not keeping unnecessary measures': Verlinden wants CST to end soon
Credit: Belga

The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) must not be kept in force any longer than is absolutely necessary and will hopefully be gone by the summer, said Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Following a protest against the coronavirus measures that ended in riots for the fifth time in two months, Verlinden said on Flemish radio on Monday that she wanted to get rid of the CST as soon as possible.

"The CST was created to fight the coronavirus, but the moment that virus becomes less dangerous, I think we will no longer need it," she said. "We are not there yet, but we are constantly evaluating the situation and when we see that the CST is no longer needed, we should be able to stop that system as well."

While Verlinden refrained from making absolute statements about the virus, she said that the experts believe that the population's immunity will be high for a while after this wave, both due to the high number of antibodies and the booster campaign.

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"Thanks to that, we will be able to cope for a while. And then, there may be much less need for measures during the summer," she said. "Let us hope that we will hardly need any measures at all."

It is still possible that another wave would require new measures in the autumn, "but we should not keep measures that are not strictly necessary in the fight against the virus."

Coronavirus barometer

During the press conference after last Friday's Consultative Committee, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo introduced the long-awaited coronavirus barometer, which indicates which measures can come into force depending on the epidemiological situation.

While Belgium is starting in 'code red,' which is the strictest phase, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon stressed that the CST would be scrapped when the country is in 'code yellow,' the least strict phase of the barometer.

In figures, 'code yellow' goes into force once fewer than 65 new Covid-19 patients per day are admitted to hospitals, and fewer than 300 beds are occupied in the intensive care unit. Additionally, the trend should always be taken into consideration in order to change phases.

"In that case, the pandemic turns into an endemic. An endemic is a situation where we treat the virus like the flu," Jambon explained, adding that the parliament will look at the CST and consider the circumstances in which it remains useful.

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