Less strict measures can work, if the population follows them, Van Gucht says
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Less strict measures can work, if the population follows them, Van Gucht says

Credit: Belga

The fact that Belgium’s new infections are evolving favourably again shows that less strict measures can work to stop the spread of the virus if the population follows them, health officials said during a press conference on Friday.

After a sudden peak at the end of last week, the stabilising figures raise the hope that a possible third wave can be avoided, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

“We continue to do better than other European countries,” he said. “Less strict measures can clearly work, provided that the population continues to support and follow them.”

Despite the fact that people “are rightfully complaining and grumbling more” about the measures, the large majority of people keeps following them, Van Gucht pointed out.

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However, he stressed that even though the infections are stabilising, a decrease in hospital patients is not yet visible, and that caution remains key. “We hope that the stabilisation of infection rates will soon translate into a stabilisation of hospitalisations.”

Additionally, Belgium’s vaccination campaign is residential care centres is increasingly showing its effects, according to Van Gucht, referring to the fact that outbreaks are becoming rarer, fewer deaths have been reported and fewer residents have had to be admitted to hospital.

“This makes us hopeful, and shows that a solution is within reach,” he said. “At the same time, we must not allow ourselves to be blinded by this bright spot just yet.”

Looking ahead at the Consultative Committee meeting to discuss possible relaxations this afternoon, Van Gucht underlined that as long as the current rules are respected, stricter ones are not necessary.

Belgium’s authorities will start discussing possible relaxations and perspectives from 2:00 PM, and will hold a press conference to announce the latest changes afterwards. An overview of what will be discussed can be found here.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times