Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is still targeting a reopening of schools on 19 April and bars and restaurants on 1 May, but can not make guarantees.
Speaking at RTL’s “C’est pas tous les jours dimanche” programme, De Croo explained that the situation in intensive care units is becoming more and more difficult. With 700 patients in ICUs throughout the country – and a maximum capacity of 2,000 – the Prime Minister wants to avoid a situation where hospitals would have to make “difficult decisions” on which patients get admitted.
“There are two places at the moment where infections spread a lot; workplaces and schools,” De Croo said, adding that the positivity test rates amongst the young, from [infants] up to 20 years of age “have increased a lot.” “It’s ashame, I also prefer when my children go to school. But if we see that the place is dangerous, we don’t have a choice. One additional week of holiday will help enormously to curb the spread of the virus.”
As for the reopening of bars and restaurants, the Prime Minister does not want to make any promises on the target date of 1 May, set earlier in the month.
“We are working with this target date in mind,” De Croo assured. However, it will also depend on the overall picture, and in particular the situation in intensive care units, but also on the vaccine rollout.
The Prime Minister could not say when the next consultative committee would meet again, but he “would not be surprised if it happened before 19 April.”