Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with a fixed group, Crisis Centre urges
Share article:
Share article:

Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with a fixed group, Crisis Centre urges

Credit: Belga

Belgium’s Crisis Centre has urged people to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with a small, fixed group of people, during a press conference on Friday.

“We can safely assume that it is sensible to celebrate Christmas and New Year in our small circle this year,” virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht said. “That is the safest option, but there will always be a risk.”

Apart from celebrating in a small group, it is important to pay attention to the holidays following each other closely.

“Christmas, for example, is dangerous. We sit close together, we eat and drink together,” said Van Gucht. “If the virus starts spreading then, people will be very infectious roughly six days later, which is New Year’s Eve.”

“If we sit close together with people again, maybe even a different group of people, then the virus can spread very easily,” he said. “And for that, we will pay a week or two after New Year.”

Related News:

 

Van Gucht stressed that it is not safe to have several celebrations in several small circles, one after the other. “We have to be very careful. Keep the circle very small, and preferably also hold on to the same circle.”

Additionally, the authorities will also work out certain guidelines on how to celebrate the holidays safely, based on the advice of experts, according to Van Gucht.

“It goes without saying that these directives will also depend on the figures, which are currently still evolving,” he added.

Virologist Marc Van Ranst already stated that it might be possible to have 2 instead of 1 so-called cuddle contact for the holidays, if the figures continue to evolve favourably, adding that “it won’t be an ordinary Christmas” in any case.

Van Ranst’s comments, however, are in stark contrast to an urgent plea by Elisabeth De Waele, head of the intensive care unit (ICU) of the UZ Brussel university hospital, who said any major relaxation could be disastrous for the health sector.

“We will have a Christmas rush in the ICU in that case, we won’t be able to do it. Sorry, we can no longer do that,” she said.

De Waele was reacting to statements by Georges-Louis Bouchez, the head of the Francophone liberals (MR), who the day before had said Christmas should not be celebrated “via Skype” and that gatherings of up to four people could still be possible.

Ahead of the Consultative Committee meeting taking place today, however, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke stated that a decision on the possibility of easing the lockdown measures before Christmas will not be taken “for at least two weeks.

The meeting – which started at 2:00 PM via videoconference today – will only assess the current situation, Vandenbroucke said.

A relaxation or tightening of the rules is therefore not on the agenda, according to him. “We hope to agree on a strategy within the next two weeks,” but we are “navigating on sight.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...