No room for relaxations before end of March, expert report warns
Share article:
Share article:

No room for relaxations before end of March, expert report warns

Credit: Belga

Ahead of Belgium’s Consultative Committee on Friday, the scientific experts advising the government do not leave any room for relaxations before the end of March, a new GEMS report shows.

In the report, the experts state that they do not see any possibility of relaxing some measures at the Consultative Committee on Friday, not even the expansion of the social bubbles for outdoor activities.

“In the short term, little is possible. Period,” one source summarised the GEMS report to De Morgen.

However, in recent days, hope had grown that more contacts would be possible in the open air, as the risk of infection is relatively low when outside.

Outdoor groups of eight to ten people could be possible, but no earlier than the end of March, according to the experts, who stressed that everything depends on the evolution of the pandemic.

Related News:


In the meantime, the number of hospitalisations and the positivity rate have started rising again, meaning that the epidemic is gaining momentum. In Ghent, for example, the number of cases has doubled in only a week time, leaving the experts worried.

The uncertainty about the impact of the British variants means that the experts can offer very few perspectives, according to the newspaper, which added that the report does propose a phasing, but without a clear time frame.

Last weekend, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke also said that it would be best to wait three more weeks before any significant easing of the rules, as the impact of the variant would be clearer then.

The experts’ advice is in line with the mathematical models shown at a press conference that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Monday.

The models on which the experts based their advice showed that it is too early for relaxations: if Belgium lifts measures now, it can prepare for a third wave, with biostatistician Niel Hens stressing that the consequences could be “dramatic.”

However, in the end, the final decisions will be made by the politicians at the Consultative Committee, not by the experts.

In the past few days, various party leaders already stepped up the pressure to allow more social contact between people, and the sunny weather has also seen many people gather in parks and square, often in larger groups than are currently permitted.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Limiting private contacts ‘needed to fight autumn wave’, expert warns
The Consultative Committee announced it is introducing a handful of measures in public spaces to control the quickening spread of the coronavirus, ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
UN issues strong warning ahead of climate change summit in Glasgow
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...
Belgium’s decision on possible third shot postponed until Saturday
The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.  The news ...
Experts and politicians respond to new coronavirus measures
The handful of measures (re-)introduced by Belgium's Consultative Committee on Tuesday in response to the worsening coronavirus situation have had a ...
New fraudulent e-mails circulating in Belgium
A warning has been put out about new phishing e-mails that have been circulating since last Saturday and are sent from what could appear to be an ...
Belgian ‘Space Bakery’ project highlighted at World Expo in Dubai
The Puratos Space Bakery project is taking centre stage at the Belgian pavilion in Dubai, where the World Expo is taking place. This week is ...