Serious relaxations will be possible from April, Jambon says

Serious relaxations will be possible from April, Jambon says
Credit: Belga/Olivier Matthys

Serious relaxations of Belgium's coronavirus fighting measures will be possible from April, according to Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon.

Questioned in the Flemish parliament ahead of Friday's Consultative Committee, Jambon pointed out that no major easing of the rules will be possible on 1 March, based on the experts' predictive models that were shown during a press conference on Monday.

"We have a variant that is 50% more infectious than the original virus," he said. "If we really relaxed on 1 March, we would immediately have a third wave.

"There is little difference between easing in April or in May according to the same models," Jambon said. "So, I think serious relaxations are possible from April, before the Easter holidays."

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According to biostatistician Niel Hens, who presented the four models on Monday, relaxing measures from April would already have a much more limited impact, because more people will have been vaccinated by then.

However, "limited relaxations" should be possible relatively before that, according to Jambon, referring to outdoor activities, particularly for young people.

"We made those a bit stricter for the children under 12 years old and said we were going to evaluate that after the carnival holidays. I think we should do that," he said.

During the press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that he "absolutely" understands everyone who is asking for perspective and something to look forward to. "But we have to remain cautious, and avoid a third wave at all costs.

"We are approaching the point where the risk of a third wave seriously diminishes. Is that point tomorrow or next week? I think the models show that it is not,” De Croo said. “But that point is also no longer very far away.”

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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