archive photo
Radio 2

Corona measures extended till 1 March

Under secondary legislation the lifespan of all corona measures has been extended till 1 March.  The decision was taken at the last meeting of the consultative committee at which all of Belgium’s many governments are represented.

The extension is a blow to workers in the hospitality industry and hairdressers and barbers.   Interior minister Verlinden (Flemish Cristian democrat) defends the decision: “We need to look ahead.  We received explicit requests from both the public at large and travel agents with regard to travel and the half-term break.  They wanted to have an indication about what would happen. The decision doesn’t mean no modifications (read relaxations) can be made during this period.”

Minister Verlinden expressed understanding for people who after weeks of obligatory closure still don’t see any prospect of a resumption of their activities: “I am no motivational psychologist, but a number of experts have told me that people prefer to know the worst case scenario.  That doesn’t mean it’s not a terrible burden today.  But that’s the situation.  In neighbouring countries we see a dangerous variant.  We mustn’t relax too quickly.”

Ms Verlinden provides push-back to demands to close the borders to stop the British variant of coronavirus from entering the country:

“During the first lockdown we saw the negative impact of border closures.  EU nations have agreed not to close any borders unilaterally.  We operate a test and quarantine system for travellers.  If that system works properly, further measures are not needed.  Few are the supporters of limits on freedom of movement.  This must be a last resort to rescue the situation.” 

Top stories