CST chucked into 'bottom drawer': Health Secretary

The Federal Health Secretary's cabinet signalled on Friday that the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) so loathed in the events and hospitality sector is effectively buried, due to a delay in the legislative process.

The candid admission was given to State French-language broadcasters RTBF one week before Belgium's drop to yellow on the coronavirus barometer.

With the belated shift in line with neighbouring governments who have already lifted the last of the pandemic restrictions, Belgium too is preparing to treat virus management as endemic.

Consign CST to a 'bottom drawer'

"We will nevertheless examine whether to keep the measure in a bottom drawer, to allow to us to apply it in the Autumn, for example, if a new wave emerges, rather than get rid of it definitively," the official in Frank Vandenbroucke's cabinet was quoted as saying.

Vandenbroucke's spokesperson confirmed to State-backed Belga News Agency later that as "we are heading towards Code Yellow under the (Covid) barometer, that means the CST will be tucked away in a drawer."

In January, ministers had decided that the duration of double-dose validity would be time-limited, as part of the winter push to deliver booster jabs.

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This would mean that some 350,000 adults were expected to see their CST passes expire on March 1 unless and until they accepted a third injection.

However, the working agreements between the federal and regional levels needed to implement that change had yet to be drawn up.

'Nothing short of "blackmail"'

And with next Friday's anticipated turning-the-page politically on two years of massive State intervention in personal health and rights arenas, that means these 'protocols' will not now be enacted, the source confirmed.

Hundreds of events venues pressed the authorities earlier this week to put a permanent end to a CST they said amounted to nothing short of "blackmail".

Over the past weeks, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Flemish and Walloon Minister-Presidents Jan Jambon and Elio Di Rupo, and Vandenbroucke have all indicated that they expected that more relaxations would be possible from mid-March.

The Federal Government is in charge of deciding whether or not to scrap the use of the CST for international travel, major events and nightclubs.

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