The Consultation Committee will again consider the current covid policy on Friday. Flanders wants to do a lot of weeding in the remaining measures. The mouth mask in particular is a thorn in the side of the Flemish government. In the entourage of Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) it can be heard that mouth masks should only be mandatory for them in very specific settings, such as public transport.
But the GEMS scientific experts think otherwise. In their advice to the Consultation Committee, they express their concerns about the coming months. With autumn and winter approaching, mouth masks are still necessary in, for example, public buildings and at the workplace, they believe. As a rule of thumb, the GEMS recommends always wearing a face mask in crowded places where you don’t know if others have been vaccinated.
Autumn and winter
The virus is expected to be transmitted more easily in the autumn and winter. In addition, teleworking has been phased out, schools have reopened and nightclubs will also open their doors again. The virus is circulating in full. The experts point out that the vaccines do not protect 100 percent against serious illness. Vaccinated people can still get sick.
In a report to the Consultation Committee, which The morning could look into it, corona commissioner Pedro Facon emphasizes that healthcare is not yet out of the danger zone. In Brussels, among other places, the situation in hospitals can still become precarious. “In Brussels and in other cities with lower vaccination rates, an impact that is even higher than that of the third wave may follow,” it sounds.
Due to the many uncertainties – such as the impact of the flu season – Facon also advocates a cautious approach and continuing to wear mouth masks in shops and at small events without a corona pass. “Risk management does not mean ‘back-to-normal’ or the full return to the prepandemic approach.”
The GEMS is asking that the government develop a contingency plan for when the situation gets out of hand in the coming months. They are thinking of mandatory telework, mouth masks at school, wider use of the corona pass and mandatory vaccination in high-risk sectors.
The Brussels and Walloon ministers around the table of the Consultation Committee share the concerns of the experts and the corona commissioner, but the question is whether the Flemish parties can be convinced. “You no longer get those mouth masks explained in Flanders. If we don’t delete them now, it will never happen,” said Open Vld chairman Egbert Lachaert. “It is always panic football in the run-up to the Consultation Committee. Last week, extra beds suddenly had to be kept available, a week later it turns out that this is not even necessary.”
A considerable discussion may follow on Friday about the financial and economic support measures that will remain in place today. For example, unemployment benefits normally fall over time, but that so-called degressivity was put on hold during the pandemic. “The labor market is on fire, companies are looking for staff everywhere, there is no reason to stick to this measure,” says Lachaert.
The Consultation Committee may not make any major decisions about the use of the corona pass. The ball is in the court of the federal states. After a few days of uncertainty, it sounds again at Jambon today that the corona pass is not necessary in Flanders, except in a number of exceptional cases. A corona pass could possibly be used more widely, including in the periphery around Brussels, although no agreement has yet been reached within the Flemish government.
Experts warn Consultation Committee for heavy Brussels covid wave this winter: ‘Impact may be greater than third wave’
Source link Experts warn Consultation Committee for heavy Brussels covid wave this winter: ‘Impact may be greater than third wave’