Reopening hairdressers on 13 February is ‘totally unfeasible,’ says Van Ranst
Share article:
Share article:

Reopening hairdressers on 13 February is ‘totally unfeasible,’ says Van Ranst

Credit: Belga

Reopening hairdressers and other contact professions in Belgium on 13 February is “totally unfeasible,” according to virologist Marc Van Ranst.

The 13 February date, that was mentioned by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo following the Consultative Committee on Friday, for the restart of contact professions on the condition that the figures evolve favourably, the virologist told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“Without the UK and South African variants, it would have been possible,” he said. “But now, it is totally unfeasible.”

“You can feel the third wave coming, and we are again going to be surprised by exponentiality of the curve,” Van Ranst said, adding that the curve will rise faster than during the second wave, as the variants are more infectious.

Related News:


The authorities will make a final decision on whether the reopening can happen as suggested on Friday 5 February, according to De Croo, but Van Ranst stressed that people should not get their hopes up.

According to estimates based on random samples from labs in Leuven and Liège, the UK strain already accounts for roughly 25% of infections in Belgium, he pointed out.

Additionally, Belgium is currently dealing with three epidemics, Van Ranst said: one with what he calls the “normal strain” with normal transmissibility, one with the UK variant and one with the South African one.

“Those last two have recently been brought in by trips abroad,” he said. “It would have been avoidable if people had not travelled. The South African one is only in Ostend for now, but the UK one is everywhere and is gaining ground.”

“If you combine that with the rising figures, the ‘early indicators’ such as worrying signals from GPs in the field, and all those outbreaks in schools, residential care centres and hospitals, the only conclusion is that the signs are not favourable,” Van Ranst said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
Nightlife testing centre opens in central Brussels on Friday
A new coronavirus testing centre set up by the Brussels By Night Federation will open on Place Poelaert in Brussels on Friday, aiming to administer ...