There are currently almost 1,900 patients with COVID-19 in Belgian hospitals. More than 360 of these are in intensive care. The last time there were so many COVID-19 patients in the country’s hospitals was back in June. In addition to this many hospital staff are currently off work sick.
Mr Vandenbroucke is deeply concerned. “We need to take urgent action to protect us from a catastrophe. But if things continue like this, we will reach the critical threshold of 500 patients on ICUs and that is serious. We need to apply the brakes straight away”
The health minister went on to say that from next week everyone should organise themselves to work more from home again.
“In companies too, a lot of people are off work due to coronavirus, so this is in the interest of the companies themselves. If more people telework, there will be fewer people on the trains, trams and busses”, the Federal Health Minister said.
"We should be very careful, wear face coverings, keep our distance. I know that it’s a disappointing message, but we need to address this. And people that feel ill and think they might be infected must get tested. People don’t need to go straight to their GP. From now you can visit a website where you can fill in your symptoms in order to get a test code. You don’t need to bother your GP anymore”.
Nevertheless, Mr Vandenbroucke isn’t considering the introduction of any new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus for the time being. He does however believe that the measures already in place need to be better enforced. He also stressed the importance of vaccination. “If you’re not yet vaccinated, get vaccinated straight away. Thanks to the vaccine you are much better protected. The risk of hospitalisation is 9 times greater among younger people that haven’t been vaccinated than it is among those that have”.