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Businesses fear a second lockdown: "That is something we wouldn't survive"

The employers' federation Voka staged a poll among its members. A second lockdown would trigger a real bloodbath, they say. 

Virologists expect the novel corona virus to make a comeback, even when things keep going well in the coming weeks and months. Belgian companies are afraid that this could result in a new lockdown. Voka staged a poll among 800 members, with a quarter of the saying they wouldn't survive a second general lockdown.

"Now it's crucial to stop the virus, not the economy", Voka chief Hans Maertens says. He says this can be done by stepping up the number of corona tests, and by intensive contact tracing. The same argument was also used by the Flemish nationalist supremo Bart De Wever recently, who argued that in the case of a new outbreak the sick people should be contained, not the economy.

The VBO, the organisation representing Belgian businesses, thinks that 5 to 10 percent of the companies wouldn't survive a second lockdown. "We should really avoid this. When the virus comes back, we should take drastic measures at a local scale, and avoid a general lockdown", says VBO boss Pieter Timmermans.