‘Not proportionate’: why Belgium isn’t banning non-essential journeys
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‘Not proportionate’: why Belgium isn’t banning non-essential journeys

Credit: Belga

Despite experts advising to limit non-essential movements as much as possible, Belgium’s Consultative Committee did not announce such a measure when implementing its new rules on Friday.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced Belgium’s new measures as a “strict lockdown” during a press conference, but did not introduce the expected ban on non-essential journeys.

“The measures that we are taking are very far-reaching ones, and they have one aim: to prevent us from infecting each other,” De Croo said, adding that restricting movements like that would “not be proportionate to what we want to achieve.”

We have to ask ourselves which measures have an effect, and which ones do not, according to De Croo.

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“If people want to take the car to go for a walk somewhere in a forest, 30 km from where they live, and do it safely, I do not see why we should prohibit people from doing that,” he said.

Additionally, shutting down non-essential shops also helps to limit movements, according to De Croo.

“We are in lockdown, but you can still go for a walk, you can still go and sit on a bench in the park if you want. You can meet some people if everyone wears a mask, keeps their distance and stays outside,” he added.

Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke added that the aim of the measures is not to keep people inside, necessarily, but to keep them from coming into close contact with others.

“Choose the people with whom you are going to go through this difficult period,” he said. “There is only one way. We have to stay away from each other now, to be together again later.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times