Belgium to meet first condition for 'code yellow' next week

Belgium to meet first condition for 'code yellow' next week
Credit: Belga

While Belgium's set of 'code orange' relaxations is only coming into force on Friday, it will likely not be long before the Consultative Committee can introduce 'code yellow.'

The country has only just switched to 'code orange' – which sees the reopening of the nightlife sector and more relaxed rules for events – but the first condition to move to 'code yellow' on the barometer could already be met next week.

"At this rate, Belgium will have fewer than 300 Covid-19 patients in ICU next week, which means that the first condition to switch to 'code yellow' will be met," virologist Steven Van Gucht said during a weekly press briefing on Friday.

The number of patients in intensive care currently stands at 350, but the figure has been falling over the past weeks. To officially move into 'code yellow,' no more than 300 beds can be occupied in intensive care, and fewer than 65 Covid-19 patients must be admitted to hospital per day.

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"However, it will likely take until mid-March before we can meet that second condition and the daily hospitalisations are low enough," said Van Gucht. Currently, an average of 246.1 patients are still being admitted to hospitals each day.

At the previous Consultative Committee, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo already stated that he hoped to introduce 'code yellow' at the next meeting, which is expected to take place in early March.

"In any case, it is advised to wait about three weeks to see the effect of today's relaxations before going a step further," Van Gucht said. In 'code yellow,' only a minimum of rules would remain in force, while nearly all restrictions – including the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) – would be lifted.

An overview of all measures taking effect on Friday can be found here, and an in-depth breakdown of Belgium's coronavirus barometer can be found here.

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