Framework for test events should be set by Consultative Committee, says Vandenbroucke

Framework for test events should be set by Consultative Committee, says Vandenbroucke
Credit: Belga

One of the decisions to be made during Wednesday’s Consultative Committee will concern the conditions under which ‘test’ events can take place in Belgium, according to Federal Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Test events in the Netherlands showed that they can be held safely, provided that a number of measures are followed, and now Belgium will also lay out the framework for such experiments, Vandenbroucke said in VRT’s Het Journaal.

“This means that certain organisations like theatres who want to organise such an experiment in a safe way will know what criteria they have to comply with, to whom they have to send the proposal, and who will evaluate it,” he said.

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He added that the essence of these experiments, of which Dutch examples showed that certain events can take place with a very minimal number of infections, is to use quick tests in advance.

“I received the report of the research of these events, and there were very few infections, which proves that you can be organised. We hope to have a framework of conditions ready by Wednesday, and I believe it will be decided on then,” he said.

Vandenbroucke said that, overall, Belgium seems to be reaching a plateau in its coronavirus indication figures, and that “the measures we have put in place have helped a little bit,” but that relaxations will only be possible if the situation in the hospital is stable.

“The most important figures to be looking at are those of the hospitals, as at the end of March there were only 39 ICU places free in Belgium. Today there are just over 100, but that is mainly because hospitals have postponed other, sometimes very important operations, which really should not happen,” he added.

He said that it is "virtually certain that the schools will reopen after the Easter holidays, and highlighted yesterday on VTM News that the travel ban is unlikely to be extended during Wednesday's meeting, but that tighter controls on returning travellers will be introduced.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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