“This will lead to total chaos”

The decision by the national security council to allow residents of care homes for the elderly to receive visits from a designated visitor, who has been coronavirus symptom free for a fortnight, has not been welcomed by the sector.  Every single network, Christian, public and commercial, is opposing the measure. Flemish health and care minister Beke (Christian democrat) has called for delay and will not implement the guideline just yet, while the federal PM Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal) insists there is no obligation to implement the guideline.

Margot Cloet of the Zorgnet-Icuro care homes: “We will advise our care homes not to follow the guideline.  We didn’t request it.  We were not involved in any consultations.”

“It is incomprehensible that this has been decided.  We are trying to keep coronavirus out of our homes.  Tests on staff have shown some are carriers without having any symptoms.”

A spokesman of private care provider Vlozo told VRT News: “This will lead to total chaos in care homes.”

Speaking last night Flemish PM Jan Jambon (nationalist) said that talks would now be held to determine how and when visitors can enter care homes: “Let’s prepare this decision properly!”

Flemish health and care minister Beke has decided not to implement the guideline just yet.  Visits to care homes for the elderly, the mentally ill and the handicapped won't be possible just yet.  Mr Beke echoed Mr Jambon’s words adding: “We are doing everything to deal with the situation.  It would be a shame if a sudden decision resulted in the opposite effect. It’s not an easy situation.  Some residents say they prefer to die of corona than of loneliness.”

In Belgium care homes are the responsibility of community governments.  Federal health minister De Block (Flemish liberal) says that when the matter was raised she assumed it had been talked through with the sector.