Belgium's Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block hopes that the new rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus will be better followed by the population than the previous ones.
"Everyone was calling for viable measures and prospects, that is what we decided. Strict rules do not help if they are not respected," De Block told VRT on Wednesday after the National Security Council.
People can now have the freedom to have close contact with five others not living under the same roof. Contrary to the bubbles, this is now an individual freedom, not one that applies to the whole household, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said.
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Additionally, masks will no longer be compulsory in all circumstances outside the home from 1 October, and the mandatory quarantine period has also been reduced to seven days.
Despite criticism by several experts, including virologist Marc Van Ranst, De Block defends these decisions.
"We want to create stronger support. So the rules must be simple. We want people to know that it will get better if we stick to them. That is the long-term perspective that had to happen," she said.
The coronavirus figures in Belgium, she expects, will continue to rise in the coming weeks, but then start dropping again.
The Brussels Times