While the risk of Covid-19 transmission is lower outdoors than it is indoors, that does not mean you cannot get infected outside, health officials stated at a press conference on Friday.
All coronavirus figures in Belgium are decreasing, but a lot of virus is still circulating, and the country is still in a “transitional phase” where some measures are still necessary, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
“It is safer outside than inside, but be aware that we can infect each other outside as well,” he said. “A kiss outside is just as dangerous as a kiss inside.”
According to Van Gucht, some studies that indicate that the majority of infections in the past have taken place indoors, had many limitations.
“They concern a period with lockdowns and strict measures, a period when mainly safe activities were allowed outside, with distance between people,” he said.
“And, above all, a period in which infections were mostly monitored and diagnosed in a formal context, such as at the workplace, at school, or in a residential care centre,” Van Gucht said, adding that this typically concerns indoor activities.
Infections that take place outside, often happen in an informal setting, and are a lot more difficult to trace, according to him. “They often do not make it into the statistics.”
As long as many people are not vaccinated, caution remains key when meeting others, even while outdoors, Van Gucht stressed.
“Do not get infected while waiting for your vaccination, and keep your distance or wear a mask when you go out,” he added.
Additionally, when people go out for a drink on a terrace, for example, they should preferably do it with people from their regular bubble: people from their household, or their close contact.
“After all, eating and drinking together, even when outdoors, remains more risky than, say, walking or cycling,” Van Gucht said.