'Incomprehensible': Belgium's unannounced extension of covid measures under fire

'Incomprehensible': Belgium's unannounced extension of covid measures under fire
Credit: Belga

A late night update to Belgium's Covid fighting measures - extending the current rules by over a month - has come under criticism in the media this morning.

Speaking to VRT, motivational psychologist Maarten Vansteenkiste of UGent warned that the change could have an impact on people's willingness to follow the rules.

"Many people will have been surprised yesterday, some even strongly disappointed or angry. There is a need for clarification on this decision," Vansteenkiste explained.

Belgium’s current measures against the spread of the coronavirus will be extended until 1 March, according to the new Ministerial Decree that was published on Tuesday.

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“A new resurgence of the virus due to a premature relaxation of the measures should be avoided,” the decree in the Belgian Official Journal states.

While the Consultative Committee is scheduled to meet again to assess the situation on Friday 22 January, no warning of this change was made during the previous meeting of the committee last Friday.

"It is incomprehensible that there has been no communication about this," said Vansteenkiste, who is also a member of the GEMS expert group that advises the government on covid matters.

"We have already delivered several opinions on ways to motivate people," said Vansteenkiste, adding that it is "essential" people are given appropriate reason why things are happening.  "Give intermediate goals and a timing to reach the final goal each time," he added.

The extension now means that the measures will still be in force during spring break, from 15 to 21 February. However, if the situation improves significantly, the measures could still be relaxed sooner, according to the decree.

The Brussels Times

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