Belgium’s barometer isn’t useful until we weather the ‘storm’
Friday, 23 October 2020
The unveiling of Belgium’s much-discussed (and much-postponed) ‘barometer’ for the corona measures has once again been delayed as the country fights back a second wave.
Speaking at the press conference announcing the latest measures, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said the committee had decided “to come back to this later.”
The meeting of the consultative committee late on Thursday night was unable to tackle the topic. “We had absolutely no time for that yesterday. But we reason according to the alarm levels, which have already been determined. We are now in alarm phase four,” explained Vandenbroucke.
Judging by his comments, the focus of the committee is currently weathering the current “storm,” rather than the specifics of the barometer. “If you’re in a storm, a barometer is not useful. We are now in that storm. Now we have to lash everything down.”
Instead, according to the minister, the focus should be on getting back to some semblance of normal.
“The coronavirus figures keep going up,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Friday morning. “Nine out of ten provinces are at alarm level four, and the last province, Limburg, is also going towards figures in the same direction.”
“We introduced a number of restrictions last week, with the aim to limit all non-essential contacts as much as possible,” he said. “We want to keep the schools open, education is a priority. It is important to be taught in the classroom, for kindergartens, primary and secondary education. Closures are the exception, not the rule.”
There will be stricter measures for sports, culture, youth movements, amusement parks and higher education, which are all regional competences, not federal ones.