“Everybody’s looking at it. Nobody’s doing anything”

Marc Noppen, the director of Brussels University Hospital (UZ) - linked to the Flemish Free University of Brussels (VUB), has sounded the alarm. He insists the contact tracing system isn’t working and adds ‘Everybody is looking at the situation and nobody is doing anything’.

Marc Noppen is one of the Belgian scientists concerned about infection rates that are now up for a 12th day in a row. He’s unhappy about the contact tracing system and government messaging.  Belgian health minister De Block yesterday told reporters the system was working.  “It isn’t” says the hospital CEO.

Prof Noppen points to the 100 million already invested with “little result”.  “Why aren’t we using the travel insurance people?  They have the infrastructure, care staff and people used to making thousands of calls a day in the tourist season.  It ain’t rocket science!”

“You need a direct line from the labs to platforms, the call centres, using a script. Instead they’ve created something new that isn’t working.”

The hospital CEO isn’t panicking just yet, but: “The trend has started, there is an upward turn in the curve.”

Brussels University Hospital has a script ready so everybody knows what to do when patient numbers rise, but Prof Noppen is most worried about staff.  Hospitals are working in overdrive to see the patients put off during the past months.

“It’s busier than this time last year.  Staff haven’t had a moment’s rest, time to mourn or celebrate” he told VRT News.  

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