Belgium should focus first relaxations on schools, says Vandenbroucke
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Belgium should focus first relaxations on schools, says Vandenbroucke

Credit: Belga

If Belgium’s Consultative Committee decides on any relaxations during its meeting tomorrow, they should focus on education, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Many pupils in secondary education are suffering from the system of only part-time attendance at school, he said on Walloon radio on Thursday morning.

Earlier this week, Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts also advocated for full-time education in class for the second and third grades of secondary school (pupils aged 15 to 18) after the Easter holidays.

However, the evolution of Belgium’s coronavirus figures shows both good and bad news, according to Vandenbroucke.

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“The explosive increase in the number of hospital admissions that we feared last week has not happened, but the number of hospitalisations continues to rise,” he said. “There are now 434 Covid patients in intensive care, which is huge.”

In the meantime, Vandenbroucke wanted to ask the population to be patient with the further roll-out of the vaccination campaign, and to stick to the measures – which the majority of people is still doing, according to him.

In the run-up to the Committee meeting tomorrow, several other politicians have also called for relaxations, mainly focussing on allowing people to have more social contacts, with Joachim Coens, leader of the Christian-democrat CD&V party, pushing for a ten-person bubble for outdoor activities.

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

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times