Belgium's rules will not be relaxed on Friday, Vandenbroucke warns

Belgium's rules will not be relaxed on Friday, Vandenbroucke warns
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. Credit: Belga

Belgium's measures against the spread of the coronavirus will not be relaxed during the Consultative Committee on Friday, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

"The figures are going in the right direction, we should thank the people for that," he told Bel RTL, adding that there has been "remarkable" discipline and solidarity with "difficult measures."

However, the circulation of the virus remains very high, according to Vandenbroucke. "There is a whole path to follow," he said, referring to the thresholds of 800 infections and 75 hospital admissions per day that should be reached first.

These indicators should then remain stable for at least three weeks before any relaxations can take place, according to him.

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"There will be no relaxations on Friday, but we are monitoring the figures and, if the decline continues, the prospect of some relaxations opens up, but not right away," Vandenbroucke said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on VTM News that he would like to be able to offer the population some positive prospects, but that "offering false hope would be worse."

According to Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, no decisions should be taken before the impact of the Christmas holidays and returning travellers is known.

"Relaxing rules is not out of the question, but we must remain cautious," she told VRT News.

Additionally, Belgium could reach the threshold of 800 infections per day by 20 January in a best-case scenario, according to calculations by Dirk Devroey, dean of the Medicine Faculty at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

However, the threshold of 75 hospital admissions will only be reached in seven weeks, he tweeted.

"So, without any additional measures, we can think of easing them within 10 weeks," Devroey said.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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