The Head of the Federal Health Department to become Corona Commissioner

The current Head of the Federal Health Department Pedro Facon is to become Belgium’s Corona Commissioner. Mr Facon’s appointment was confirmed at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Consultative Committee that brings together members of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments. But who is Mr Facon and what will his new position entail?      

Almost four years ago when the then Director-General of Health Care at the Federal Health Department retired he was succeeded by the then 35-year-old Pedro Facon. Despite his relative youth, by then Mr Facon had already acquired plenty of experience both as a member of staff at the offices of the Health Minister and at the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Riziv).      

Pedro Facon graduated with a Masters’ Degree in politics from Leuven University (KUL), where he specialised in public service management and auditing. Mr Facon then worked for 8 years at Riziv, before leaving to join the staff at the office of the former Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal). He was Ms De Block’s Chief of staff until 2017 when he went to work for the Federal Health Department.     

What will Mr Facon’s new job entail?

As the Head of the Federal Health Department, Mr Facon has been one of the people that have been managing the coronavirus crisis during the past 7 months.

As part of the coalition agreement that was struck between the 7 parties that make up the new federal  government it was decided that a Corona Commissioner should be appointed. A number of scientists have been calling for this for some time.  

His job will be to look at the social and economic impact of the measures taken to try and keep the coronavirus epidemic under control.

In the coalition agreement the post is described in the following passage “The Corona Commissioner will in other words coordinate our country's corona policy for at least one year (this period can be extended). He won’t do this alone, but will be assisted by a scientific committee”.    

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