‘Tsunami of infections’: Belgian Health Minister appears in foreign press
Monday, 19 October 2020
Statements by Belgium’s Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke about how the country could be facing a “tsunami” of Covid-19 infections have been picked up by several international media.
While announcing the country’s strict measures against the coronavirus, Vandenbroucke spoke about “a tsunami of infections” that Belgium did not seem ready for, as well as “a snowball that is rolling. If it becomes an avalanche, battering hospitals and general practitioners, then we are in a terrible situation.”
He described the situation in Wallonia and Brussels as “the worst, and therefore the most dangerous in all of Europe.”
His statements have been picked up by several international media, which all report on the tightened coronavirus measures because of the high number of new infections.
The Guardian pointed out that UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, cited Belgium as a model of how to deal with the second wave of infections, after infection numbers were kept down in August.
However, the numbers in Belgium have shot up since September, the newspaper said, “as adults returned to work and pupils went back to school after their summer break.”
BBC also quoted Vandenbroucke, reporting that Belgium was “facing a tsunami of new infections.”
The news outlet also reported that Belgium has the third-highest number of Covid-related deaths per 100,000 people globally, behind only Peru and San Marino, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet used Vandenbroucke’s “tsunami” statement for a short article about Belgium. “The new measures in Belgium are necessary because a partial lockdown in the capital Brussels was not enough,” the paper said.
According to the Danish DR, Vandenbroucke “sounded the corona alarm.” The paper added that the number of daily infections in Belgium has increased tenfold over the month of October.
The paper pointed out Vandenbroucke’s use of the phrase “hug contacts” to refer to the chosen person that people do not have to keep their social distance from, but can hug and touch.