Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst was surprised and disappointed after the National Security Council decided to relax several measures against the spread of the coronavirus, he said on Wednesday.
"When you see the figures, this is certainly not the time to relax. It does not take a great virologist to predict that the figures will increase further in the coming weeks," Van Ranst told VRT.
Despite the strong increase in the number of coronavirus infections, the National Security Council announced a number of relaxations during its latest press conference.
- 'Strict rules do not help if they are not obeyed,' says De Block
- 'Reference number': Belgium's new way to limit social contacts explained
- Belgium's Security Council introduces long-term coronavirus strategy
Everyone will be able to have close contact with up to five people outside the family, face masks will no longer be compulsory everywhere from 1 October, and the mandatory quarantine period will be reduced to seven days.
"These measures are in stark contrast to reality," said Van Ranst. "The aim of this advice was indeed to make things more flexible, but reality has caught up with us. When you look at the figures, this is not the time. We can expect big problems in the coming weeks if we do not do anything."
Van Ranst also understands some of the relaxations, however. "It is indeed ridiculous that people have to wear masks everywhere, even in places where hardly anyone passes by," he said.
He said that he also understands that keeping to a bubble of five people is difficult, especially for (large) families. "But I hope that everyone does not start seeing five people now, because it will become difficult."
The Brussels Times