Administrators and health experts in both Flanders and Wallonia say a second lockdown could be in the offing if new measures are not taken or failing compliance with those already in place.
Already, a curfew is under consideration in Wallonia where, on Friday, provincial governors announced a series of measures, including the closure of bars and cafeterias in sports clubs.
While a curfew was not among the measures announced, a decree that would impose one from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. was submitted to the Home Affairs Department on Friday and is scheduled for discussion at a consultative meeting set for Monday.
New infections have been surging in Belgium, especially in Brussels and Wallonia regions. “If we continue with figures like that, there will be a generalised lockdown,” Walloon Brabant Governor Gilles Mahieu stressed on Sunday on RTL-TVi’s “C’est pas tous les jours Dimanche” programme.
In Flanders, the head of the Zorgnet-Icuro healthcare network, Margot Cloet, also sounded the alarm. “If no additional measures are taken against the coronavirus, I’m afraid the healthcare (network) will not hold,” she said on Sunday on VRT’s “De Zevende Dag” programme.
Cloet feels Belgium is not far from a new lockdown. The health care sector is beginning to feel the effects of the surge in infections, particularly staff at residential care centres (such as retirement homes and centres for handicapped persons), who are beginning to find it difficult to cope.
Antwerp-based infectious-disease expert Eirka Vlieghe, former president of the Group of Experts in charge of the Exit Strategy, also sees the situation as “serious” and feels stronger measures are needed to stop the virus from spreading.
For now, Belgium does not have a colour-coded infection barometre for the novel Coronavirus, but in her eyes, the country should be coloured orange, on its way to red.