Belgium's Consultative Committee to meet on 4 March; Code Yellow on table

Belgium's Consultative Committee to meet on 4 March; Code Yellow on table
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference following the Consultative Committee. Credit: Belga

The next meeting of Belgium’s Consultative Committee will take place on Friday 4 March to discuss the epidemiological situation and a possible switch to Code Yellow on the coronavirus barometer.

The country's core cabinet will meet again at the start of next month to discuss the current situation in light of the improving situation in Belgian hospitals and the overall continued decrease in the number of new Covid-19 infections, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s cabinet confirmed to The Brussels Times.

On Friday 18 February, Belgium switched to Code Orange, as was decided during the previous Consultative Committee meeting the week before, meaning rules for events, leisure activities and the hospitality industry became more relaxed.

During the same meeting, the members of the Consultative Committee “were optimistic” about the next phases of the pandemic, according to Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo, who said that, at the beginning or the middle of March, "we will be in the yellow phase."

On Tuesday, this was confirmed by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, who said that he hopes this switch can be made "relatively quickly."

Meaning of Code Yellow

To issue Code Yellow, the epidemiological situation and the pressure on hospitals need to be under control, meaning that fewer than 65 Covid-19 patients are admitted to the hospital per day and that fewer than 300 beds are occupied in intensive care.

The latter condition was reached on Wednesday when the number of Covid-19 patients in ICU dropped below 300 for the first time since October, however, an average of 194.1 patients suffering from Covid-19 are still being admitted to hospitals each day.

This could mean the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) would no longer be required to attend events or to gain entrance to hospitality establishments and could see the face mask obligation being lifted in schools and the limit on the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor events disappearing.

Vandenbroucke didn't pinpoint an exact date but said he would not rule out that this could be after the Carnival break (from Saturday 26 February to Sunday 6 March).

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"If we were to continue the decrease by 25% per week, we would arrive at 65 new hospitalisations per day in the third week of March," virologist Marc Van Ranst said on Twitter.

"However, we must take into account that due to the current relaxation of Code Orange and the rise of the BA.2 omikron sub-variant, the decline may slow down somewhat," he added.

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