Large families should wear face masks indoors, Brussels doctors argue
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Large families should wear face masks indoors, Brussels doctors argue

Credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexel

Brussels general practitioners argue that families housing multiple generations under one roof should start wearing face masks inside their homes.

The Dutch-speaking Brussels Federation of General Practitioners (BHAK) would like to see large families with members of varying ages to step up safety measures at home. Wearing masks inside may help prevent elder generations from contracting Covid-19 from their children or grandchildren.

“More young people now test positively [for the virus],” BHAK’s president, doctor Vincent Janssens, said, suggesting that this group should increase the use of face masks.

“If they won’t do it for society, then at least let them do it for the sake of their own families. This is a matter of confidence and civic spirit. Brussels does not yet have the power to make that happen.”

Densely populated neighbourhoods in the north of Brussels have recently seen an increased infection rate. Many households in these neighbourhoods consist of multiple families and multiple generations. Additionally, the second wave of infections has shown that younger people are among the demographic groups most at risk of contracting the virus. The BHAK’s advice is based in part on these trends.

Over the past month, the infection rate in Brussels has been steadily rising, though health officials said the local situation is “evolving favourably” and fewer hospital admissions were recorded across the country last week. Most patients, however, are from Brussels and Antwerp.

For Brussels, it remains challenging to make sure that all social groups oblige the city’s safety measures in the face of the pandemic. According to Janssens, sustained efforts to sensitise and inform the public will be more effective than repressive measures.

“I don’t believe that continuously fining people is the right way to go,” Janssens remarked. “The basic rules have to be explained in a way that will truly reach people. Using only the media to do that is insufficient. And pushing the message through sanctions will be ineffective.”

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times

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