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Coronavirus: Belgium gets new group of expert advisors

Credit: Belga

Belgium has a new scientific advisory organ to advise the government on coronavirus-related strategy.

This is the third such organ to be created since the start of the coronavirus crisis, after the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES) and a so-called evaluation cell known as Celeval.

The group will prepare reports ahead of Consultative Committee meetings – the next of which is on 18 December -, but will also advise on specific measures and will eventually decide on relaxations of the coronavirus rules as well, De Standaard reports.

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A team of 24 scientists has been put forward, which is double the size of both previous advisory organs. Out of the 24, ten members are virologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease experts or biostatisticians.

They include infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe, who will be at the head of the expert group, Sciensano spokespersons Yves Van Laethem and Steven Van Gucht, virologist Marc Van Ranst, biostatisticians Niel Hens and Geert Molenberghs, and vaccine expert Pierre Van Damme.

Other medical experts are infectious disease experts Steven Callens (University of Ghent), Bénédicte Delaere (UCLouvain), Christelle Meuris (Liège University Hospital Centre) and Dimitri Van der Linden (UCL).

New faces include Maarten Vansteenkiste, motivation psychologist at the University of Ghent and Lode Godderis, a professor in labour medicine, as well as health economist Philippe Beutels.

Other experts include economist Mathias Dewatripont (ULB) and public health experts Céline Nieuwenhuys and Isabelle Aujoulat.

Finally, the list is completed by Karin Cormann (of the German-speaking community’s Public Health department), Frédéric Frippiat (of the French-speaking Agency for a Life of Quality, Aviq), Sciensano epidemiologist Tinne Lernout, Romain Mahieu of Brussels’ Common Community Commission and Dirk Wildemeersch of the Care and Health Agency as well as Regional WHO Director Michel Thieren and one additional expert who is yet to be named.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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