BELGA

People of Belgium to be instructed to limit their contacts drastically

Belgium’s security council that groups the federal and devolved governments is meeting today to consider the surge of new coronavirus cases and decide on new measures.  Speaking to VRT ahead of the meeting deputy premier Geens indicated that people in Belgium would have to reduce their number of close contacts.

At present Belgium’s social bubble, the number of people you are allowed to meet up with at close quarters, stands at 15 a week.   This is likely to be reduced.

Mr Geens repeated the words of PM Wilmès in the media at the weekend: “The size of the bubble will be reduced. It may be even fewer than 10 people.  We will listen to the experts and see what they think is needed.”

Mr Geens spoke of the importance of maintaining contacts with the same group of people over a longer period of time and not changing the composition of the bubble every week.

“Some people even thought you could meet up with 15 new people each and every day.  We need to make this a static bubble. This will give us a period of four weeks to allow us to try and stem the approaching second wave from the outset, as quickly as possible.  In this way we can start a normal school life in September.  A lot more discipline than we are used to will be needed. Normal freedom won’t resume until there is a vaccine.”

The security council convened at 9AM.  The Governor of Antwerp Province, Cathy Berx, also attended.  Antwerp is the epicentre of the latest outbreak.  The council made it clear to Ms Berx that more action was called for up in Antwerp.  Ms Berx then departed to chair the province’s crisis cell. Antwerp city’s crisis cell will convene later in the day. Antwerp Province has already let it be known stricter measures will be needed.  The local reproduction number has risen above 2.

The decisions have clearly been taken at the security council with a news conference planned for 15:45.

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