Prime Ministers Alexander De Croo has defended the relaxations made during the last Consultative Committee, saying it is possible to plan ahead even if there are uncertainties now.
On Tuesday, the government announced its broad “summer plan”, detailing the several stages in which it will relax measures, starting from 9 June, but this has already been met with criticism.
“There are concerns being expressed and we are taking them seriously, but just because there are concerns doesn’t mean we can’t plan three months ahead,” De Croo told Belga News Agency.
“I trust that we can organise this well and that people also know how they should behave with this responsibility and freedom,” he added.
Following the announcement of this plan, infectious diseases specialist and GEMS chairwoman Erika Vlieghe expressed concerns about the timing of certain relaxations, specifically about the possibility of allowing large-scale events such as Pukkelpop and Tomorrowland in August.
She emphasised that there are still too many uncertainties about how the spread of the virus will progress in the country, specifically with the arrival of the Indian variety, which Vlieghe warned on Radio 1 is emerging in various places, including in Belgium.
Both Vlieghe and Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, who did not take part in the press conference following the Consultative Committee, have insisted that additional thresholds had to be set before the next phases of the summer plan could come into effect.
Vlieghe said the first threshold of fewer than 500 patients being in the intensive care unit as a result of coronavirus makes sense for the relaxations in June, but that this figure in August would signify that the virus is still circulating a lot.
However, De Croo emphasised that it cannot be the intention to take people’s freedom away for months on end if it is not necessary.