Belgium to alleviate coronavirus measures, despite growing infection rate
Yesterday to country launched its long-term strategy to manage the health risks related to the pandemic
- Štvrtok 24. September 2020 13:45
- Aseniya Dimitrova
Yesterday 23 September, Prime Minister of Belgium Sophie Wilmès announced the alleviation of the measures against coronavirus, despite the rate of infections being on the rise. The new rules are in line with the newly announced long-term strategy to manage health risks. They come in the context of a 60% surge in infections and 63% in hospitalizations over the last seven days.
What changes in Belgium with regards to Covid-19?
As announced yesterday, masks remain mandatory, only at places where the safety distance cannot be guaranteed. As of 1 October, citizens will no longer be required to wear a mask outside very crowded areas (local authorities are in charge to determine where they are).
When it comes to indoor spaces, masks should be worn at pre-defined places such as public transport, shops and cinemas, regardless of their occupancy level. There is no longer a limit on the number of people shopping or the times of day, as long as the clients maintain a safe distance.
In terms of social contacts, one can come into contact with whoever they wish, as long as they keep 1,5 metres apart and wear a mask while also sticking to the cap of 10 people per group at a time (excluding children). Close contacts shall be limited to 5 people outside of the household members per month. Professionally organised events are no longer limited in terms of guests’ number, as long as tables accommodate 10 people or fewer.
Furthermore, the duration of quarantine is reduced in half – from 14 to 7 days. As of Friday 25 September, visits to the “red zone” countries will no longer be forbidden but strongly discouraged. Those returning from an “orange zone” will no longer be tested. The Coronalert mobile app is also in its final stages of development and will be launched on September 30.
Celeval, the coronavirus evaluation unit, was asked to prepare a long-term vision for the management of the health risks related to the pandemic. Six rules are central to this vision – respecting personal hygiene, preferring outdoor over indoor locations whenever possible, thinking about vulnerable persons, keeping a safe distance of 1,5 metres, limiting close contacts and following the rules on gatherings.
Based on these six rules, Celeval experts will work on the establishment of a barometer of the epidemic at national, regional and provincial levels. Depending on the pandemic situation (mainly reflected in the number of hospitalizations), the restrictive measures will be adjusted.
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