Besides imposing a lockdown again, Belgium does not have a lot of options to stop a possible second wave of coronavirus infections, the Federal Public Health Service said during a press conference on Monday.
Re-implementing “social distancing” and the measures put in place during the period of containment would be the only means of breaking the chains of transmission of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in the event of a new wave, if tracking and tracing are not enough, said inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Yves Van Laethem.
However, it is not certain that these measures will be applied in the same way, in view of the knowledge and techniques currently available to us.
The statement comes after Interior Minister Pieter De Crem said that a second lockdown is “impossible” if a second peak occurs, on VTM News on Sunday (video).
“We still do not have an effective treatment or a vaccine,” Van Laethem said, adding that this will have to wait until autumn or winter and that the only means we have to fight the evolution of the pandemic are screening and tracing.
“If the system of contact tracing and isolating sick people is no longer manageable because there are too many cases, we have no other solution than to break the chains of transmission by ensuring social distancing again,” said virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
However, it is not certain that these potential new measures will be applied in the same way, as a possible second lockdown could potentially be applied in a more selective manner, and maybe not with all the measures in force now.
“In view of current knowledge and the techniques at our disposal, we will be able to ensure this distancing in certain parts of the country, or regionally for example. It could be set up for smaller populations with higher risk factors,” Van Laethem added.
“Creating that distance between people again will be the only real weapon we have against the virus at that point. There is little by way of alternatives,” added Van Gucht.