It was the Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal), who informed lawmakers of the early meeting of the body that has the final say on corona measures. In recent hours there has been mounting pressure to bring the meeting forward.
Belgium’s health care sector indicated that urgent care is now in jeopardy.
It was only last week that the consultative committee met and decided on fresh measures that kicked in on Saturday. It’s too early to see the impact of these measures but Mr De Croo told lawmakers that bed occupancy levels in ICUs outstripped even the most dire forecasts from the experts. As a result, the premier is eager to act now.
The premier suggested measures could include speeding up delivery of the booster or third jab and slashing red tape for health care workers. Fresh corona measures are also needed.
Some 1.25 million people have already received the booster. On Saturday the decisions will be taken on how it will be rolled out to the rest of the population.
The federal inner cabinet will meet tonight at 8PM to consider new measures. Federal health minister Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) is eager to act too: “Waiting any longer will lead to fresh misery” he says.
The health minister says children need to be included in the vaccination planning, though vaccinations won’t suffice.
“The vaccines are an excellent umbrella but even with a brolly you will get wet in a hurricane” he said.
Mr Vandenbroucke believes all sectors will now have to contribute towards stemming the advance of coronavirus: “Extra measures will be needed in education, leisure and in professional life. Where it’s possible to organise activities safely, we must continue. The riskiest activities will have to be limited or stopped.”
Speculation is mounting we may once again have to miss out on the joys of nightlife and hospitality may be instructed to close at 1AM, but that is pure speculation at the minute.