Given their recent evolution, Belgium’s novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) figures will be good enough for current restrictions to be eased “in mid-January,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Sunday on VTM Nieuws.
In the meantime, the situation is still serious, according to the Belgian Prime Minister. “By the time this television programme will have ended, four persons will have died from COVID-19 in Belgium,” he stressed.
Queried on the request by Francophone Community Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Jehollet (MR) for a review of the social distancing measures during the upcoming holidays and the closure of hairdressing salons to be tabled for discussion in the Consultative Committee on 18 December, Mr. De Croo said that meeting was already programmed for other issues. These include details of the strategy on vaccination and the quarantining of persons returning from abroad.
Any decision needs to be based on figures and opinions, and the end-of-year period is very sensitive, he said, pointing to the situation in Canada, where COVID-19 infections have spiked following the easing of restrictions for Thanksgiving on 26 November.
Sleeping over at one’s host on New Year’s Eve to beat the curfew, in violation of the rules governing gatherings, is not a good idea, he noted, asking rhetorically: “Are we going to endanger the lives of the most vulnerable for a few hours at Christmas and New Year?”
Asked about the pressure from MR for some rules to be relaxed, Prime Minister De Croo said that he, for his part, needed to watch out for the messages expressed by members of his government and that federal ministers needed to speak “in unison” whenever they said anything.
“We are asking for sacrifices,” he stressed, “so there needs to be a clear, unified, position and ministers need to conform to it.”