Lockdown in Belgium will remain until at least 22 January
The Expert Council should establish a schedule for reopening of different sectorsEuropost , Brussels
Belgium decided not to loosen lockdown measures despite the general downward trend in the number of contaminations, although still slow. The Consultative Committee on Covid-19 met via videoconference on Friday to make an interim assessment and confirmed the rules in place.
The epidemiological situation in the country from several weeks is already more favorable than in a series of other EU Member States, but the latest figures show that the reproduction rate is once again slightly increasing (Rt = 1.004), and the occupancy rate of ICU beds remains at a high level.
The Committee will meet again on 22 January as then it will be possible to better assess the impact of return trips, the Christmas and the New Year celebrations and the reopening of schools.
Until then, mandatory teleworking rule remain and there will be more controls at the workplaces for workers who should respect a quarantine.
Non-essential travels are strongly discouraged and there will be more checks on compliance with the testing and quarantine requirement after such trips. Controls will also be stepped up when travelers return. The current travel rules will remain applicable at least until the end of Carnival holidays (15–21 February).
The Consultative Committee asks the task force in charge of vaccination to speed up the jab rate and make it more efficient. The announcements about the doubling of the quantity of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine via the European purchase are particularly important in this context. The number PCR tests and antigen tests will be increased.
In order to allow all sectors to reopen as quickly as possible, the Consultative Committee asks the Expert Council (GEMS) to establish a schedule for reopening and to identify the sectors where more stringent protocols and additional sanitary facilities are required.