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No significant relaxation of corona measures before mid-January says Belgian PM

The Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) has told VRT News that there will be no significant relaxation of the measures designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus before mid-January. 

Speaking at Friday evening’s press conference following the meeting of the Consultative Committee, Mr De Croo said “The figures in our country are better. We now need to persist so as not to endanger what we have built up during the 4 weeks. Because the situation is particularly dangerous. We are still in alarm phase 4, which means that the virus is still circulating in abundance. Most hospitals are still deep in the red.”

Mr De Croo added that the Consultative Committee had decided “to remain very cautious”. "We must be aware of the fact that the winter months are much more difficult than the summer months”.

The Prime Minister believes that a significant relaxation of the measures cannot be considered before mid-January and then only if the figures continue to fall. “Our hospitals could not manage a third wave”, Mr De Croo said. 

What was decided at Friday’s meeting?

·        Shops that have been closed will be allowed to reopen from 1 December. This must be done “in a responsible way” with no fun shopping. We will have to shop alone and may spend no longer than 30 minutes in any one shop. Shops may only allow 1 customer per 10m² of floorspace.

·        Municipal authorities will work together with retailers to ensure safety in shopping streets.

·        The restrictions on contacts with people from outside our homes remain in force. The exception is that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day those that live alone will be allowed to invite two people to their home at the same time.

·        The curfew and ban on gatherings remain in force.

·        A national ban on fireworks will be in force at New Year.

·        Stricter border checks will be in force to ensure that those returning from Red Zone areas have filled in a passenger locator form. There will be more checks to ensure that the quarantine measures are upheld.

·        Museums and swimming pools may reopen.  

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