Health minister invokes “collective misjudgement”

The Flemish parliament’s corona commission met today to quiz Flemish health minister Beke and the head of the contact tracing taskforce, Karine Moykens. Mr Beke gave a robust defence of his actions invoking a “collective misjudgement”.  

Speaking before the meeting corona committee chair, green opposition lawmaker Rzoska, insisted Flemish health minister Beke wouldn’t be able to avoid difficult questions with regard to the approach in care homes.  He also voiced concern about the Flemish contact tracing system: “I see governors and mayors setting up a system of their own.  It’s a sign the Flemish system we put up with 100 million euros of tax payers’ money isn’t working”.

Flemish health minister Wouter Beke (Christian democrat) has claimed that “we initially collectively misjudged the character of the virus and its impact”. Mr Beke noted that an offer from the federal authorities to co-ordinate how care homes were dealt with came too late and was no longer necessary.  He insisted that in addition the approach proposed by the federal government was too geared to hospitals.

Mr Beke added that the situation in Flemish care homes was under control sooner than in Brussels or Wallonia.

The Flemish health minister also promised to improve the pay and working conditions of care workers in care homes and to bring these in line with nursing staff.  

Ms Moykens told lawmakers that as early as today a letter would be going out to the labs processing corona tests and the hospitals asking them to provide the health institute Sciensano with results electronically and within the hour.

At present up to 2 days can be lost in this process.   This issue is pressing because Sciensano needs the information to pass on to the call centres where contact tracers operate. In future Sciensano will provide call centres with an information update three times a day instead of once now.

As early as the end of this week people who get a missed call from a contact tracer will be able to call back.  At present this isn’t possible.

“A new system becomes operational at the end of August” says Ms Moykens “but already now steps within the procedure will be speeded up and modified”.

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