Belgium's coronavirus barometer applies until end of June, says Vandenbroucke

Belgium's coronavirus barometer applies until end of June, says Vandenbroucke
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. Credit: Belga

The coronavirus barometer - that was finally given the green light on Friday - was intended to be valid until the end of June but can also be withdrawn earlier, said Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Last Friday, the Consultative Committee agreed on the coronavirus barometer, which should allow for more transparency and predictability in the management of the pandemic - but questions are already being raised about when it will expire.

"The Consultative Committee has said that the barometer should be in force until the end of June," Vandenbroucke said in the Chamber on Tuesday. It could be withdrawn earlier, but that depends on evaluations by the Consultative Committee.

He also stressed that the barometer serves in the fight against the coronavirus and not any other virus. An overview of which measures correspond to which phase of the pandemic can be found here.

The population's mental well-being

Vandenbroucke also emphasised that the measures taken in the fight against the coronavirus do take mental wellbeing into account, and refuted that mental wellbeing is always benefited by relaxations.

It is "a persistent misunderstanding" that surfaces in manifestos of people who have never read the advice, he said, referring to the "Winter Manifesto" published earlier this month, which recently advocated a different pandemic policy.

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Vandenbroucke clarified that the Mental Assessment Group within the GEMS expert group - which assists the Consultative Committee - published ten reports last year on mental well-being with numerous indicators, and that "they were taken into account."

Additionally, 38 reports were published on the motivation of the population (Corona Motivation Barometer), he said, refuting the idea that decisions would be made "in a kind of tunnel vision."

Lastly, Vandenbroucke is not convinced that mental well-being only benefits from relaxations, as people "can also be scared by an uncontrolled situation," which in itself can give rise to mental unwellness.

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