Antwerp’s coronavirus approach to shift focus as infection rates decrease
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
If the decreasing trend of infection rates in the province of Antwerp continues, the Antwerp coronavirus measures will end as planned on 26 August.
The province’s approach then shifts “from strict enforcement to stimulating desired behaviour,” said Governor Cathy Berx on Wednesday.
“We have to motivate people to keep following the golden rules, not because they will be punished otherwise but because they don’t want to infect others,” she said.
Specific measures were needed in Antwerp because the last relaxations after the first wave of infections came too early for the province and the number of infections had therefore risen again at an alarming rate, according to Berx.
The governor does not expect that the end of the Antwerp measures in combination with expected adjustments by the National Security Council will again cause major problems. “We did not have a concrete view of the situation at the time, whereas we get that every day now,” she said.
“Mayors and primary care workers also know much better what is expected of them if a new infection does appear somewhere. If we can intervene there quickly, specifically and accurately, the risk of the weather getting out of hand is very small. We also work much more proactively.
According to Berx, measures such as the curfew and the obligation to wear a face mask have caused the curve in Antwerp to fall sharply again. “The reproduction number is now 0.73 and we come from 2”, she said.
“The number of infections fell by 35 percent last week. The doctors, who were the first to warn that it went wrong, also say that the pressure has decreased. Yet it is still a matter of perseverance, so that our children can go back to school safely and we can work, play sports and enjoy culture as normal as possible.”