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What having 4 guests means, according to Steven Van Gucht

Credit: Belga

Virologist Steven Van Gucht clarified what it means to receive up to four guests in your home, during the last Federal Public Health Service press conference before the relaxation goes into force.

Belgium’s National Security Council decided on Wednesday that every household can receive up to four guests in their home from 10 May, immediately causing people to question what this actually meant, as experts clarified that these people could then not see anyone else, and police announced that it was impossible to check if everyone complied with the measure.

“From Sunday, it will be possible for two households to visit each other,” said virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht. A household can be a family, roommates, or a single person. On average, there are four people in a family, which is why that number was chosen, he said.

“Think very carefully about which household you want to meet. It is important that the household you choose, also chooses you. And that you stay within that circle,” Van Gucht said. “These households then enter into a kind of contract with each other, as it were, in which they agree to see each other, and no one else,” he added.

The intention is not that these four visitors all come from different households, he said, and also advised against meeting, for example, two people from family X and two people from family Y. “Preferably, choose one family or one household you meet, and stay within that fixed bubble,” said Van Gucht.

“If these four people all come from different households, your network will expand enormously at once,” he added. This creates a great opportunity for the virus to suddenly start spreading again. “Limit your circle, we are counting on you to respect this in the future,” Van Gucht said.

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“The household you chose to see, can be grandparents. But again, it is best to respect the distance rules, and they should not be asked to look after their grandchildren,” he said.

The basic rules still have to be respected at all times. Keep the social distance as much as possible, wash your hand regularly, and wear a face mask if the distance cannot always be guaranteed.

“Apart from this new bigger bubble which will be possible from Sunday, you can still exercise outdoors with two other people, who may also come from another bubble,” he said, adding that they always have to be the same two people.

“This relaxation of the measures should not be seen as a way to starting meet with friends and family,” said Yves Stevens of the National Crisis Centre. “If we were to do this, we would give the virus free rein to spread in our society undisturbed,” he said, adding that no one will benefit if in a few weeks’ time, “we are again faced with an upward curve again, and the measures associated with it.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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