Coronavirus: Belgian researchers plan ‘responsible deconfinement’
Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: Belgian researchers plan ‘responsible deconfinement’

Credit: Belga

Researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and UNamur have been working on the issue of “responsible deconfinement” out of the lockdown to contain the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Their three-part strategy was published in the journal Nature Medicine on 10 April, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.

Researchers Mathias Dewatripont (who is part of Belgium’s GEES, the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy), Marius Gilbert (who previously said that the slowdown of the coronavirus in Belgium was ‘confirmed’ and also part of GEES), Michel Goldman, Eric Muraille and Jean-Philippe Platteau propose a strategy of progressive deconfinement in three complementary lines of action: maintaining social distance, setting up mass screening and implementing procedures on a large scale.

Maintaining the social distance is necessary, as the measures make it possible to reduce the transmission of the virus below a threshold that can be managed by hospitals.

Related News:


Screening tests should be able to detect both virus carriers (with or without symptoms) and immunised individuals (non-contagious and potentially protected against the disease). The former will be placed in quarantine and their contacts traced, while the latter will make it possible to measure herd immunity.

Implementing mass testing in the population will require prioritisation, warn researchers, for whom the first targets of such testing should be workers in essential services, such as health, safety and food.

“This balancing act is a matter of political choice: the priority groups to be screened must be defined transparently, according to the demographic and socio-economic context of each country, and with the involvement of different decision-makers to increase buy-in,” the statement said.

The scientific article, signed by two members of the Belgium’s GEES, was written before the task force was set up by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès. This group submitted its first report to the government on Tuesday, which will serve as a basis for Wednesday’s meeting of Belgium’s National Security Council.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
Up to 100 km/h winds expected across Belgium on Wednesday night
Gusts of up to 100 km/h are expected across Belgium on Wednesday night, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), which has issued a ...
Cycling traffic officially added to VRT’s traffic bulletin
Usually a list of updates for drivers on busy roads, traffic bulletins will now include the latest travel news for cyclists in Belgium, VRT announced ...
MEPs call for European strategy to protect workers from asbestos
Members of the European Parliament are calling on the Commission to create a strategy for removing all abestos from buildings in order to reduce the ...
Mandatory vaccine for carers: employers call for sanctions
In a notice submitted by the National Council for Work (CNT), employers have called for heavy penalties for healthcare workers who refuse to receive ...
Police pension protest blocks several Brussels crossroads
On Wednesday, around 350 police officers expressed their dissatisfaction about the unclear pension scheme, low salaries and politicised police unions ...
Belgium in Brief: A Consultative Committee Sequel
Sequels often have a lot to live up to and when it comes to movie franchises, it gets difficult to keep up the hype once you get towards the final ...
25 years ago today: 300,000 people marched in white against child abuse
On this day 25 years ago, over 300,000 people marched in Brussels to demand a more effective justice system and to support the families of Julie, ...
Windy weather forecast should lower gas prices
After weeks of relatively calm conditions, a return to windy weather should lower Europe's soaring energy prices. Wind turbines in the UK and Germany ...
EC calls on candidate countries to focus on fundamental reforms before they can join the EU
The European Commission adopted yesterday its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by ...
Cigarette-eating robot patrols Ghent streets to fight littering
A litter fighting (and eating) robot will be patrolling the streets of Ghent in the coming weeks in an effort to raise awareness of the growing ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...