Share article:
Share article:

Belgium must return to smaller social bubbles, says Geens

Credit: Belga

An expected move to reduce social bubbles in Belgium is not enough to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country according to Federal Justice Minister Koen Geens, who has called for the reintroduction of fixed bubbles for the coming weeks.

Speaking ahead of the National Security Council on Monday, Geens said that the decision about the size of the social bubble will probably be the most important one.

“It is no secret that we are going for a reduction of the social bubble. Prime Minister Wilmès already announced it in several newspapers this weekend,” Geens said on Radio 1 on Monday. “If necessary, the bubble could even be smaller than 10 people.”

“The important thing is to see the bubble as fixed. Now, we thought we could see 15 people every week, and 15 more the next week. There were even people who thought they could see 15 other people every day,” Geens said.

The bubble has to be “fixed,” according to Geens, so that the country can try to “nip the coming second wave in the bud as soon as possible” in a period of about four weeks. That way, a normal school life could start in September, Geens said.

Related News:

 

On VRT, biostatistician Geert Molenberghs said that an “open” bubble would be “fatal” in these circumstances. “The difference is not in the number, especially the fixed bubble is very important. If we reduce the social bubble in this way, we can reduce the number of hospitalisations by 50% to 90%,” he said.

It is very important to reduce the social contacts without bringing them back to zero, according to Molenberghs. “This virus gives us very little time,” he added.

Geens acknowledged that the decision to reduce the social bubbles might have been made earlier, but he does not agree with the criticism that the politicians ignored the advice of the experts. “Politics has been relatively quick [to react],” Geens said, adding that a lot has changed between the last expert reports of 20 July and 26 July.

“None of us thought it would be this bad,” he said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...
Testing rules following high-risk contact eased for vaccinated people
The coronavirus testing policy following a high-risk contact has been eased, meaning a vaccinated person who was in contact with an infected person ...
New measures announced for Belgian schools
Stricter rules are being implemented across a variety of sectors in Belgium to curb the rising number of infections and limit the damage as a result ...
Majority of booster doses should be administered by March 2022
Invitations will be sent out in the following days for the general population in Belgium to receive a coronavirus booster vaccine, and most adults ...
Belgium adopts national plan to combat gender-based violence
Belgium has adopted a National Action plan for the Fight against Gender-Based Violence, which includes more than 200 measures and unites all levels ...
Antwerp cancels Christmas market and New Year’s Eve fireworks
The city of Antwerp has joined other cities including Leuven and Ghent by announcing it is cancelling this year's Christmas market, the end-of-year ...
Pharmaceutical companies looking into vaccines against new variant
Pharmaceutical companies have sprung into action to look into vaccine protection against the new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa, ...
Belgium imposes entry ban on travellers from southern Africa
Belgium is introducing an entry ban for travellers from several countries in the south of Africa following concerns about a new variant (B.1.1.529) ...
What Ursula did next
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES • Weekly analysis and untold stories
Nightclub closures, limiting contacts: These rules come into force today
Just over one week after its last meeting, Belgium's Consultative Committee on Friday once again announced a set of new measures to curb the rising ...
Almost 3,500 Covid-19 patients in hospitals as new cases continue to skyrocket
The number of new coronavirus cases in Belgium is continuing to rise, and with it the number of Covid-19 patients who are hospitalised as a result of ...