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Marc Van Ranst faces lawsuit over ‘reckless statements’

Virologist Marc Van Ranst could face a lawsuit for causing “unnecessarily great economic and social damage” over statements he’s made in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Six Flemish entrepreneurs are of the opinion that Van Ranst’s statements are “indiscriminate and reckless” and have hired lawyer Walter Damen to take legal action, Het Laatste Nieuws reported.

“With clockwork regularity, Van Ranst spreads information and advice in the media and via Twitter himself, even before the government has been able to communicate it,” one of the entrepreneurs said.

One example of a statement with “disastrous consequences for the local economy” according to the entrepreneurs was Van Ranst’s tweet on 25 July calling on people not to go to Antwerp. The city was fighting “a major Covid-19 outbreak” at the time.

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The entrepreneurs – Bart Deconinck, Rudi De Kerpel, Philip Nichelson, Tanguy Van Quickenborne, Tom De Bruyckere and Patrick Vermaerke – are claiming a symbolic compensation of €1.

Furthermore, they want Van Ranst to provide his guidance behind the scenes for the government to translate into concrete guidelines.

In a reaction, Van Ranst spoke of “a politically inspired smear campaign,” doubting whether it will ever come to a trial.

Earlier this week, viral action group Viruswaanzin (which translates as ‘viral madness’) filed a complaint against Van Ranst with Belgium’s Medical Association for spreading fear and false information, abusing his status as a physician to do so.

Viruswaanzin also accuses him of “publicly denigrating” his fellow physicians, by openly calling those who disagree with him “idiots”, “patented fools” and “know-it-alls.”

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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