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Brussels ‘on the edge of code red’, expert warns

Erika Vlieghe. Credit: Belga

Brussels is approaching a code red on the Covid-19 barometer, which is currently being developed, infectious diseases expert Erika Vlieghe told Radio 1 on Wednesday morning.

The barometer, announced by former Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès at the last National Security Council on 23 September, is still being developed. While the colours have been decided on, the measures that go along with each colour haven’t yet.

“The barometer is there, but still needs to be filed and finished,” said Vlieghe. “As far as I’m concerned, it can come this week. We cannot make it clear quickly enough where we stand. That’s why the barometer has been made: so that everyone can follow where we stand.”

Currently, all of Belgium colours orange on the barometer, according to Vlieghe, while Brussels is “on the edge of code red.”

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A Consultative Committee meeting on Tuesday was expected to lead to progress on this barometer, which Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has said would not be launched before it was perfect. The committee did announce new measures, including an earlier closing time for bars and a limit on the number of people in one’s social bubble.

Vlieghe is “satisfied” with the new measures and thinks that “these measures are a necessary first step to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus.”

Brussels’ regional crisis cell is meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss more severe measures for the capital and its surrounding areas.

“We are going to see if we need to close down the cafés and bars completely. After all, these are places where there are infections,” said Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, with regional Health Minister Alain Maron saying the new measures would be tougher than those announced by the federal government on Tuesday.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times