Belgium must consider 10-person outdoor bubble on Friday, stresses minister

Belgium must consider 10-person outdoor bubble on Friday, stresses minister
Credit: Belga/Kurt Desplenter

The Consultative Committee has to discuss whether an outdoor social bubble of ten adults is possible during its meeting on Friday, according to Joachim Coens, leader of the Flemish Christian-democrat CD&V party.

"There are a lot of signals from the population that indicate that the limit of what they can accept has been reached," he said on Flemish television on Wednesday evening.

"If the motivation disappears, the curve goes up. The Consultative Committee must give a signal of what is possible," Coens said, joining his colleagues in the Flemish government who are pushing for a number of relaxations on Friday.

Since 1 February, children and young people up to 18 years old have been allowed to take part in outdoor activities in groups of a maximum of ten people.

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"Why not be consistent and allow that for people over 18 too? When the numbers stabilise, you have to look at what can be done safely," Coens said. "I think we can do with some relief outside in a safe way, especially with this nice weather."

He did not propose a date for when the measure could take effect, but said that it should be done "as soon as possible, taking into account the virological aspects."

Earlier this week, virologist and member of the GEMS expert group advising the federal government Steven Van Gucht said that a cautious relaxation for outdoor activities is an option, but that a strict distinction should always be made between indoor and outdoor activities.

“Seeing more people when outside it is not really an expansion of your contact bubble,” Van Gucht told The Brussels Times, adding that it would concern people to go for a walk or a bike ride with.

“You could meet up somewhere, but the distance must always be maintained,” he said, stressing the risk of a third wave would increase very much if these people would become close contacts.

“It should really only be a small relaxation, but people should not despair too much about that,” Van Gucht said. “Things are going to get better, more is going to be possible, but March is not the right month to go too far yet.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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