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‘Extra measures are necessary,’ says Belgium’s PM

Credit: Belga/Dirk Waem

“Extra measures are necessary” to counter the spread of the coronavirus in Belgium, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in the House on Thursday.

“I hope that no one needs to be convinced of the seriousness of the situation anymore,” said De Croo, adding that the number of infections in Belgium is increasing exponentially.

“It is a pivotal moment for hospitals. The situation that Brussels is in now will spread to other provinces,” he said. “We have to be aware of what that means: at some point, we have to say that certain concerns have to be postponed.”

“We need to get the situation in hospitals under control, and keep it workable for the doctors and nurses, the people who have been under pressure since March,” De Croo said

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The measures introduced last week will start to take effect soon, but the figures will continue to go up, albeit slower. “That is why I am convinced that new measures are needed,” he added.

Tomorrow, Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet to discuss new measures, as well as the promised “coronavirus barometer,” that is expected to grade the epidemiological situation at a national, provincial and regional level, making it possible to counter the spread of the virus in a more targeted way.

De Croo did not clarify which measures are on the table, but possibly new rules regarding the hospitality sector, teleworking and even a possible curfew for parts of the country will be discussed.

Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that the situation in Belgium now is more serious than it was last week, as well as “more serious than in the Netherlands and France.”

“In that case, one must take action, but not improvise,” Vandenbroucke said. “The virus is nobody’s fault. Tackling the virus, however, is everyone’s responsibility.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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