What will the Concertation Committee decide on Friday? Vandenbroucke speaks of “firm measures” and evokes closures

A week after the implementation of the new rules, the figures remain red in Belgium. Even more, the latest trends seem to show an acceleration of the epidemic, instead of a slowdown. Something to worry about politicians. Several members of the government thus indicated that the situation was such that new sanitary rules were going to be necessary. Same story with health experts. Many virologists have come forward in recent days to demand that the authorities meet soon to discuss a tightening of the measures. Marc Van Ranst (KULeuven) thus mentioned the implementation of a “lockdown light”.

The next consultation committee, initially scheduled for January, has been brought forward to this Friday. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) gave more information to deputies this Thursday at 2:30 p.m. during the plenary session in the House.

“Firm measures”

First of all, the Prime Minister regretted that the sanitary rules were not sufficiently followed. “The measures are useless if they are not respected. Teleworking has no impact if it is not respected. This is my first message: we must respect the rules in place. Our personal behavior has If we adapt it, we can reverse the curves, “he insisted. “Mask-wearing and distancing are the most powerful weapons we have. Clearly we’re going to have to use them for some time, including next fall and winter.”

He then wanted to clarify the course that the authorities were going to follow. “This week, what we will look at will be the number of people in intensive care. Today, when we look at the intensive care occupation, we see that the situation is worse than in the worst case scenario proposed by the experts, “warned De Croo. “We will therefore have our Consultative Committee early tomorrow. We will work on three elements: vaccination (and the third dose), then see how we can help health care and relieve the pressure, finally a package of measures which will be different from previous waves since now many people will be vaccinated. If we take measures, everyone will have to make an effort to respect them. The most vaccinated countries suffer less than those which are less vaccinated. the best proof that the vaccine works. “

For his part, the Minister of Health held a somewhat more radical speech. “I will advocate for firm measures which will take effect immediately,” added Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit). “We must limit the circulation of the virus, there is too much contamination. Measures will have to be taken in all sectors, including education and recreation. The most risky activities will have to be limited and stopped.”

“It’s not an option”

Before these speeches, the deputies had the opportunity to express their concerns and their grievances.

It was Catherine Fonck (cdH) who first spoke: “Let us have a truthful speech: the evolution of the epidemic is very bad. The health care sector is under maximum pressure.

Codeco’s decisions last week

are too late and in minor mode. The picture couldn’t be worse. Doing nothing and waiting is not an option. You must act. “The MP thus called for focusing on reinstating the wearing of a mask, on ventilation and on the third dose. She finally asked that the Consultative Committee meet quickly.

Karin Jiroflée (Vooruit) stressed that “we did not prefer to beat certain records”, yet the latest figures have exceeded levels never reached. “Many of us respect the rules and hear that some do not, it is unacceptable for us,” she blasted, pointing to certain people in the chamber who called for not respecting the rules.

“Fortunately, there is a silver lining”

“The curves follow the most pessimistic scenarios”, regretted Barbara Creemers (Groen). “The domino effect of postponed care means that non-urgent care has become urgent. All the lights are therefore red.” According to the member, we must act “now”. “Mr. Prime Minister, are you prepared to do everything possible to avoid an implosion of our healthcare system?” She asked the Prime Minister.

The Liberal Party in turn affirmed that “the situation is maddening”. “Fortunately there is a glimmer of hope, it is vaccination. We must do everything to convince the last reluctant, we must make significant progress on this vaccination. We need clear and global communication”, asked Vincent Scourneau (MR), also calling for going faster in the administration of the third dose.

“People no longer know which way to turn. The time for slogans must be resolved now,” blasted Kathleen Deporter (N-VA).

Coming back to the next Consultative Committee, Laurence Hennuy (Ecolo) called for tougher health rules. “We know that you are going to take necessary measures, which will not be easy, but which we will support,” she commented.

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