Restricted movement, closed shops: How Belgium could lockdown
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Restricted movement, closed shops: How Belgium could lockdown

Credit: Belga

An expert report has shed some light on how Belgium could lockdown again, calling for limitations of non-essential movement in an effort to fight the virus.

The document – which hit Belgian media just as Belgium’s Consultative Committee gathered to discuss stricter measures – was written by advisory body CELEVAL and Belgium’s Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon. Within the document, which will be discussed today, experts draw particular attention to the need for a ban on non-essential movements, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

“Politicians must not hesitate to take stricter measures,” Belgium’s Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon said Thursday evening on VRT, adding that the situation in the hospitals is concerning. “It is too late to wait for the effect of the measures taken. We have to do something.”

According to a growing number of experts, imposing a new lockdown as soon as possible is the only option left to break the virus transmission.

To be able to enforce such a measure, experts reportedly launched two proposals, according to Nieuwsblad.

The first one would be the establishment of a kind of “personal perimeter,” whereby everyone would have to stay within five or ten kilometres from their home.

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The second option would be a “movement certificate,” as is in force in France, which would state the purpose of the journey a person is taking. This would enable the police to check at any time why someone is on the streets.

Shutting down non-essential shops is also one of the main options on the table, as allowing them to stay open would make it nearly impossible to check whether someone’s journey is essential or not.

Additionally, CELEVAL reportedly proposed the shut down of professions requiring close contacts, such as hairdressers and estheticians, even if non-essential shops would be allowed to stay open.

Closing the country’s borders for travel is reportedly an option in CELEVAL’s report as well, but unlike during the first lockdown, the different member states are likely counting on the EU to close the continent’s borders, so police don’t have to check the internal ones and can be deployed in other areas.

“Whatever you do, it must be strong enough,” infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe told VRT News ahead of the Consultative Committee meeting. “We are all going to have to drastically reduce our contacts.”

“The virus circulation is very high,” biostatistician Geert Molenberghs told Het Laatste Nieuws on Friday morning. “Anyone who still comes into contact with people, will almost certainly come into contact with the virus.”

“In the case of unchanged behaviour, the hospitalisation figures will double again within a week. That is, of course, no longer possible,” Molenberghs said. “It is therefore the very logical that stricter measures will be taken.”

Maïthé Chini and Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times