Belgium eager to experiment with test events

Belgian health minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit/Flemish socialist) says this week’s meeting of the consultative committee must create a framework of conditions to allow experiments with events involving larger groups of people.  The consultative committee meets on Wednesday.  It includes representatives of Belgium’s many governments and has the final say on corona measures.  Experiments in the Netherlands have shown that it’s possible to organise events like e.g. concerts safely if a number of conditions are met.

Pressure is mounting for relaxations now Belgium’s vaccination campaign has upped a gear.  Speaking on VRT TV last night health minister Vandenbroucke insisted relaxations are only possible when pressure on hospitals is cut. “At the end of March we only had 39 critical care beds left” he noted.

The health minister stressed the need to make a distinction between events staged indoors and out. Outdoors there is less risk of contagion. Mr Vandenbroucke is following experiments in the Netherlands, where events have been staged safely.  He is eager to stage test events in Belgium too.  The Dutch example shows that if certain conditions are met events can take place without people coming down with coronavirus.

By getting the consultative committee to set out a framework for events, organisers who wish to stage a test event under scientific scrutiny will know who to contact and who will evaluate their proposal.  Mr Vandenbroucke says rapid testing ahead of an event is a key part of such experiments.

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