Health Minister rules out relaxation of coronavirus measures

The Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) has said that this Friday’s meeting of the Consultative Committee will not result in the relaxation of the measures in force to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Consultative Committee is made up of representatives of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments. Mr Vandenbroucke made his comments in an interview with the Francophone commercial radio station Bel RTL. 

Mr Vandenbroucke told Bel RTL that “The figures are heading in the right direction and we should thank the public for that. There has been a remarkable amount of discipline and solidarity with these difficult measures. However, the level at which the virus is circulating remains very high. There is a whole route that we need to follow. There will be no relaxation on Friday, but we are following the figures and if they continue to fall this could create prospects”.

But what exactly does the Health Minister mean with “a whole route”? At the end of November 2020 Mr Vandenbroucke told VRT News’ topical discussion programme ‘De afspraak’ that he wants the 7-day rolling average for positive tests to be below 800/day and the average daily number of hospital admission of COVID-19 patients to be below 75 for 3 weeks before he will consider a relaxation of the measures.

The Dean of the Medical Facility of Brussels’ Dutch-medium Free University (VUB) Dirk Devroey has calculated that even in the most optimistic scenario it will be 20 January before the 7-day rolling average for positive tests is down to 800/day. A 7-day rolling average of 75/day for hospital admissions won’t be reached for another 7 weeks. 

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