Belgian governments meeting to decide new restrictions

With the figures on the coronavirus pandemic giving ever more cause for concern to the country’s politicians the federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) spoke with the Prime Ministers of Belgium’s regions and language communities on Tuesday. They considered the latest data and analysis from the office of the Corona Commissioner. Yesterday evening the federal inner cabinet met to discuss the situation relating to the pandemic. Today the Consultative Committee is meeting to take the decisions.

The Consultative Committee, made up of representatives of the country’s federal, regional and language community governments, was supposed only to meet on Friday but the virtual meeting was brought forward. The Consultative Committee decides on the measures taken to curb the spread of the pandemic. 

Given that the figures continue to rise sharply (but not exponentially) and the fact that the meeting has been brought forward, it seems highly likely that the coronavirus measures will be tightened yet further.

In recent days several experts have been calling for stricter measures to thwart the further spread of the virus. 

On Tuesday VRT News’ political Editor Bart Verhulst revealed that “everything is on the table: the closure of non-essential shops and contact professions including hairdressers and barbers, a cooling off week in schools prior to the Easter holidays too".

Measures are expected to mirror those of the second lockdown in the autumn of last year.

If non-essential stores close, take-away opportunities for products will be introduced, mirroring what is already available in hospitality.

Any extension of the curfew or a ban on non-essential domestic travel are not on the cards due to the lack of any popular support for such measures.

Our colleague adds that one source told him that the meeting won’t be to take a few light measures here and there.

It’s not yet known when the new measures will kick in.  It could take several days for the necessary secondary legislation to be drafted.  If the Easter break starts as early as next week parents will have to be given time to organise childcare.

How long will the measures last? Schools are supposed to reopen on 19 April and hospitality on 1 May, but it looks more likely that corona figures will determine the length of the measures rather than any politician.

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