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Home-working: “We gotta keep it up!” insists minister

Speaking a year after the start of the pandemic Belgian health minister Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) is keen to insist that people in Belgium must strictly comply with the rules on working from home. Mr Vandenbroucke warned that if we drop our guard, we will face grave risk.

“I stick to working from home religiously” he told VRT.  “Since 1 October I’ve been in the office on four occasions.  From morning to night my wife hears my endless discussions, even with the door closed.  Home-working is not a synch, but we really need to keep it up!” said Vandenbroucke.  “If we don’t want to endanger the relaxations that have been announced, we need to work from home.”

The health minister was joined in his plea for renewed focus on home working by infectious diseases exert Erika Vlieghe, one of the faces of this pandemic.  She says “It’s been a funny year.  I’ve had little time to dwell on it.  On 31 December I saw a post by a friend all about China.  That alerted me to the situation.  I wasn’t alarmed.  A few days later I was busy with Argentinian haemorrhagic fever and then without a gap we moved on to Covid.”

“In Europe we regularly escaped the worst, SARS, MERS, Ebola.  It gave us a false feeling that we were untouchable.  We are not.  At the beginning of March I thought a tornado is heading our way.  You see it approach.  You just don’t know how bad it will be. I was frightened.”

“This fear hasn’t gone away.  Eyeing the figures all the time we remain worried.  The danger has not passed.”

Prof Vlieghe does have a plan for a post-Corona celebration: “We’ve agreed among virologists to meet up in a particularly poorly ventilated jazz club.  Minister Vandenbroucke can tag along too.”

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