The restrictions adopted during the last weeks in Belgium have not served to slow down spread of COVID-19. Despite the closure of bars, cafes and restaurants, the telecommuting and the curfew decreed throughout the country, all indicators remain red, hospitals on the verge of saturation, and the consultation committee, which brings together the federal government and the presiding ministers of the three regions of the country, has decided to take another turn of the screw and follow in the France in hardening the reconfinement of the population. All non-essential shops must close from this next Sunday November 1 to December 13, the school holidays they will be prolonged until November 15 and teleworking will once again be mandatory.
The evolution of the pandemic, as the Belgian crisis center warned this Friday, continues to be alarming. Between October 20 and 26, the average number of daily infections has skyrocketed to 15,000 and one out of every four tests performed – currently only on people who are symptomatic due to the collapse of the system – is positive. “The pressure on hospitals is immense. The limit has long been exceeded & rdquor; and “we do not see changes & rdquor ;, the Belgian prime minister has warned, Alexander de Croo, who has insisted that the only solution is to toughen confinement with even stricter measures to limit social contact.
“It is a confinement but it will allow the schools to reopen and will not isolate people,” the health minister explained. Frank Vanderbroucke, which has qualified the situation in critical hospitals with more than 6,500 hospitalized with covid19. The new battery of measurements includes the closure of all non-essential trade. Nor may activities that require direct contact with customers, such as hairdressers, beauty and massage centers, and they will also have to close zoos and holiday parks. However, there will be no limitations to mobility. The displacement can be done with total freedom, although it can be done in terms of social contact.
No social contact
Once again, the authorities have decided to further limit the number of people who can be received at home. With the exception of people who live alone, who may receive two, the rest of the households may only have a maximum visit of one person per week. “We cannot authorize visits to the home of friends or families. There are so many contaminated people that the risk is too great & rdquor ;, has justified the Belgian liberal who has indicated that abroad groups of four people will be able to continue gathering while maintaining security measures that include physical distance and a mask.
Belgium will also restrict to 15 people maximum the funeral and in the street they will not be able to meet groups of more than four people. “At the moment there is only one possible answer: limit all physical contact between us as much as possible. We are going to have to do it for as long as it takes. We must break this trend that we see in the figures as radically as possible & rdquor ;, De Croo urged.
Finally, schools will have to extend the All Saints holiday planned for next week. Last week the extension of the school break was announced until November 11. They will finally remain closed until the middle of next month. As of November 16, all students in kindergarten, primary as well as first and second secondary education will be able to return to the classrooms. Starting in high school, the idea is that 50% of the classes are distance learning and 50% face-to-face until December 1, when the situation will be reviewed. That day the decision on the closure of non-essential businesses will also be reviewed. “I know they are particularly drastic and painful measures but they are the result of an analysis based on figures. Are last chance measures& rdquor ;, summed up the Belgian Prime Minister.