Virologist Van Ranst pooh-poohs Knokke event ban

Virologist Marc Van Ranst is not impressed by the measure taken by the authorities in the jet set resort of Knokke-Heist.  Because of rising corona cases the municipality has banned all organised indoor events.  “You will only move events to other municipalities” says the scientist. “It’s better to take action like this at a higher level” is his verdict. 

All indoor organised events including cultural, sports and youth events (for youngsters over 13 years of age) are now banned in Knokke-Heist until the end of the month.   In addition to a surge in cases the critical care unit of the local hospital is full. 

Prof Van Ranst doesn’t see the point: “People will simply party elsewhere or attend an event in another municipality.  Measures like this should be taken at provincial, regional or simply on the federal level”.

The local hospital AZ Zeno has 9 ICU beds.  Seven are currently occupied by non-Covid patients, two by Covid patients.  People are wondering how two beds in a hospital can trigger such a major switch like banning indoor events. 

“If you look at West Flanders Knokke-Heist is among the 12 best municipalities as far as corona cases are concerned. 511 municipalities in the rest of the country are doing less well.  You just hope this won’t lead to mayor after mayor trying to outdo their colleagues” says Van Ranst. 

The municipality of Knokke-Heist doesn’t possess the power to ban private indoor events but is urging residents to postpone them and limit their contacts too.

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