Nicolas Maeterlinck

Health Minister rules out restrictions on visitors during the festive season

The Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) has said in an interview that there will probably be no additional coronavirus restrictions during the Christmas and New Year period. Speaking on the weeknight topical discussion programme ‘De afspraak’, Mr Vandenbroucke said that next Wednesday’s meeting of the Consultative Committee will not impose any restrictions on the number of guests we are allowed to receive in our homes. 

During the festive season last year people in Belgium were limited to just one guest from outside their household. People that live on their own were allowed to receive two guests on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

This year the authorities will rely on people’s judgement to ensure that the end of year festivities take place as “corona-safe” as possible. “We aren’t going to send in the police, but will rely on people’s own judgement”, Mr Vandenbroucke said.

The health minister added that it would be a good idea to take a rapid coronavirus test before meeting up with family or friends.

Although no restrictions are likely be placed on the number of people we can meet up with during the festive season, Mr Vandenbroucke doesn’t believe that next Wednesday’s meeting will decide to relax any of the measures that are currently in force. “There are too many people in hospital and the pressure there is simply too great. What if an omicron wave comes quickly? This means that we can’t relax the measures now”.

"There will certainly be no relaxation. You can’t rule out us having to tighten the measures. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Omicron is the great unknown factor at play here”, the Federal Health Minister said. 

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