ROBIN UTRECHT

“If we wait, a lockdown will become inevitable”

The general practitioners’ association Domus Medica is sounding the alarm.  The family doctors want Belgian governments to meet before Friday to take decisive new action to stem the surge in new coronavirus cases and decide on new corona measures. 

The GPs say that if no action is taken, we will end up with a third wave and a full lockdown will be the only weapon left in our armoury. The family doctors are echoing concerns already expressed by Flemish virologists and epidemiologists.

“For the first time since the second wave we are now experiencing an enormous rise in patient numbers and corona tests” says Roel Van Giel. Doctors are seeing other infections too, not only coronavirus, but it is clearly an engine behind the figures. “In certain surgeries the figures are now higher than in October” says Dr Van Giel. “Last time round we were two weeks ahead of hospitals.”

The doctors want the consultation committee that groups all six Belgian governments and has the final say on deciding corona measures to convene before Friday.

“The infections are happening today.  Measures must be taken today”.

The doctor is not convinced the measures taken last Friday will be sufficient: “Without new measures the curve will simply continue to rise.  It’s painful to see this happening.”

If no action is taken the doctors believe a third wave is inevitable: “It’s as if some people want to wait to see the evidence of this third wave. If we have learned one thing from this entire epidemic and from previous waves it is that you need to act the minute you see the figures go up. You don’t have to wait until you get the evidence that proves you were right and there is a third wave.  Then you will be hopelessly too late and will have work for weeks trying to get the figures down.”

Doctors warn the measures must not be focused on one single sector.

“It’s spread everywhere, in schools, families, businesses.  We believe general measures are needed to rein it in.”

Dr Van Giel says limiting contacts will work, but the exact nature of measures is a matter for the politicians, but he warns: “If we wait a couple more days before taking decisions a lockdown will become inevitable.  The real world will have caught up with us.”

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