Will coronavirus measures be extended beyond 5 April?

Will coronavirus measures be extended beyond 5 April?
Credit: Jules Johnston/The Brussels Times

With the Dutch government deciding to extend certain measures to contain the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), questions about whether Belgium will do the same are rising.

The Netherlands has decided to extend certain coronavirus measures until 1 June, prohibiting events and gatherings, even if fewer than 100 people attend. Currently, the Belgian measures are in force until 5 April, but many people are wondering if they will be extended, with government officials even saying that it is “unlikely” that the lockdown will be lifted.

However, no decisions have been made about a possible extension yet, according to infectious disease expert and professor Erika Vlieghe.

Even if the trend of Belgium flattening the curve is confirmed over the next few days, “we will have to keep doing what we are doing,” Vlieghe said on the television programme ‘De Afspraak’ on Monday evening. “We have only just started,” she said, adding that we cannot start slacking off now.

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Additionally, the Netherlands’ new 1 June deadline is date based on guesswork, according to the professor. “We will have to review the situation very carefully, week by week,” Vlieghe said, adding that it is up to the politicians to pick a date.

“The package of measures is also very diverse. Some measures are easier to keep up for a longer period of time than others. Some are more important than others, and we will have to keep stressing them, like the social distancing,” she added.

Correction: This story was updated to clarify that The Netherlands has only extended the measure banning events and gatherings until 1 June, not the other measures.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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