‘Not much room’ for extra measures against UK variant, says Jambon
Share article:
Share article:

‘Not much room’ for extra measures against UK variant, says Jambon

Credit: Belga

There are not a lot of extra measures Belgium can take to stop the UK coronavirus variant from overrunning the country, according to Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon.

The more infectious UK variant will be dominant by the end of February or the beginning of March if there are no new measures or changes in people’s behaviour, a recent report showed.

However, there is no reason to panic based on the current figures, according to Jambon. “There is a slight upward trend, but we are not in the big numbers yet,” he said on Radio 1 on Thursday morning.

With a curfew, the obligation to telework where possible and the ban on non-essential travel already in force, “there is not much room to take additional measures,” Jambon said.

“I choose the option of enforcing the current measures. We have been very strict for a long time, you also have to be able to maintain support among the population,” he said.

Related News:


“The authorities want to keep businesses and schools open, and make sure the healthcare system does not collapse,” Jambon stressed, referring to this week’s decision to tighten rules for children’s extracurricular activities in an effort to keep schools open.

The focus should be on making sure everyone complies with the current measures. “Everything is closed already, more or less. We also have to keep an eye on mental health and not let the economy collapse.”

According to former Covid-19 spokesperson Emmanuel André, however, taking further measures is essential.

“If we do take steps, we might be able to postpone the third wave a bit. In this way we buy time to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” he said. “That’s the game, if you want to call it that, that’s going on right now.”

While it is true that most of the neighbouring countries currently have stricter measures in force, Jambon pointed out that this is because their figures are worse than in Belgium, and that similar curfew would not be understood or complied with by large parts of the population.

“With this more infectious variant, what we have to focus on is going into quarantine and isolating ourselves if we are infected,” Jambon said. “And lots of testing. That is the direction we have to go.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

EU decides to activate emergency brake against new COVID-variant but stops short of flight ban
The new COVID variant detected in South Africa has put the EU on alert and prompted the Council’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) to ...
Belgium imposes entry ban on travellers from southern Africa
Belgium is introducing an entry ban for travellers from several countries in the south of Africa following concerns about a new variant (B.1.1.529) ...
Cheat Sheet: New Rules, Quiet December Nights
It's been a while since we've had measures complicated enough to deserve a cheat sheet, but less than a week after Belgium rolled out new measures, ...
Belgium records highest number of new cases since start of pandemic
An average of 16,762 infections per day is now recorded in Belgium, with an absolute record of more than 25,000 infections in one day last Monday, ...
Brexit: trade and travel disrupted as French fishermen blockade ports and Eurotunnel
On Friday, the national committee for the French fishing industry has coordinated a blockade of three French ports as well as lorries bearing freight ...
Belgium implements ‘package of strict measures’
Not even a week after the previous measures came into force, Belgium is taking stricter measures to stop the fourth wave in the country, announced ...
Even with strong action now, ‘we will still have a few weeks of misery,’ says Vlieghe
Even if the Consultative Committee takes powerful and clear decisions today, Belgium will still have to endure a few weeks of misery while the number ...
Brussels tunnels blocked by Uber driver protest
Several tunnels in the centre of Brussels were blocked on Friday morning by Uber drivers protesting against a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal ...
Police strikes at Brussels and Charleroi airports cause delays
Police unions are taking action at Brussels and Charleroi airports this Friday morning, causing delayed services at both locations. At 7:00 AM at ...
Black Friday not your bag? Try Green Friday
Today is Black Friday: a North American custom that has made its way across the Atlantic and is when retailers aim to draw consumers in with low ...
Study links social media use with depression in adults
While social media has been linked to anxiety and depression in teens, a new study now suggests that adults are also susceptible. In Belgium, a ...
Nearly half a million of lives saved by COVID-19 vaccination in Europe, new study shows
A new study published on Thursday estimates that at least 470,000 lives have been saved among those aged 60 years and over since the start of ...