Belgium stops holding coronavirus press conferences, for now
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Belgium stops holding coronavirus press conferences, for now

Credit: Crisis Centre/Youtube screengrab

As the rise in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalisations in Belgium has started slowing down again, the Crisis Centre announced that it will stop holding press conferences.

The slowing rise is good news, and “hopefully, it means that the figures will soon start to taper off,” according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

This week’s press conference exceptionally took place on Friday, and not on Wednesday, as 21 July was Belgium’s National Day.

“Belgium is in the middle of the pack in terms of infections in Europe. We do not see an explosive increase, as in other countries such as the Netherlands,” Van Gucht said.

Additionally, so far in July, eight days on which there no people died as a result of Covid at all have been registered. “We hope that this is a trend that will continue.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, this was our last press conference. All that remains now is to wish you a good summer,” Van Gucht said. “Personally, I am confident that we have good things to look forward to.”

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He stressed that the coronavirus vaccine is the way out of this pandemic, and when it comes to vaccinating, Belgium is at the top. “That reassures me for the future.”

“And if you still have doubts, get vaccinated. Please. The virus will not disappear, and the vaccine will protect you against serious illness,” Van Gucht said.

He thanked everyone who was involved in the press conferences, mentioning communication services, the media, scientists, labs, hospitals and residential care centres responsible for collecting and analysing the data.

“Thank you, the people, as well, for continuing to follow these conferences, and especially for heeding our advice,” Van Gucht said. “A pandemic is fought with good communication, but good communication also requires a listening ear, and we can only be grateful for that. Thank you.”

While today’s press conference was the last one, the daily updates about the situation will remain available on the Sciensano dashboard and website, according to Crisis Centre spokesperson Yves Stevens.

“If necessary, we will hold this press moment again, structurally or punctually. But let’s all hope that it will not be necessary,” he said.

“Enjoy the summer in the coming weeks, but do so responsibly and with respect for the precautions that are still in place,” Stevens said. “And as always: take care of yourself, and take care of each other.”