This would again intervene in our shopping behavior. “In my opinion, this is the most important Security Council since March,” says virologist Marc Van Ranst. The French-speaking liberals are now putting pressure on Antwerp.
Last weekend it was decided to bring the Security Council forward from Friday to Monday. After all, most virologists agreed after the last meeting that the measures did not go far enough.
In the meantime, the curve goes up steeply every day. ‘Earlier than Monday was not possible,’ says Van Ranst. “I wrote a report until last night.”
According to health institute Sciensano, great attention must now be paid to enforcing the measures. ‘The sense of citizenship is evolving positively, but clearer signals must also come from the government,’ says Professor Boudewijn Catry.
Sciensano also warns not to repeat errors from the first wave, such as the complete quarantine of the residents of residential care centers. “And the measures must continue to co-exist,” says Catry. ‘Taking one measure should not be an alibi to scrap another.’
The main part of what is on the table on Monday, is the reduction of the contact bubble, can be noted from various sources. “But we will not get there by that alone,” said one of the cabinets involved.
So there are also other actions on the table. For example, there will be talk of an intervention in the shops. The number of contacts during shopping must be reduced, possibly by calling people again to go to the store alone. An increase in the number of square meters per customer would not be an option.
In addition, there is talk about a new restriction on events and about an extension of the mouth mask obligation, can be heard from political circles.
Marc Van Ranst is in any case a supporter of the Antwerp guideline to always have a mask with you. “That’s a good position,” he says. ‘After all, you cannot always predict which part of the city you will visit.’
He does not consider an obligation to keep the mask on anytime and anywhere. ‘It only contributes to busy places, the mayors are best placed to indicate where that is.’
According to Van Ranst, this is a decisive Security Council, the most important since March. This is crucial. We are there earlier than in the first wave, but we also want to stop it earlier. ‘
In four weeks, he believes it should be possible to steer the epidemic in a different direction. ‘We want to have this under control by September 1, so that we can have a normal start-up of the schools.’
The French-speaking liberals are now putting great pressure on Antwerp. ‘The mayor of Antwerp must take his responsibility and not hide behind the federal level’, says Deputy Prime Minister David Clarinval at The evening. ‘Bart De Wever must take courageous measures.’
Clarinval is joined by party chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez. ‘It is logical that, in addition to the rules that apply throughout Belgium, we need specific local rules, such as in Antwerp, to counter the revival of Covid19. The National Security Council allows the local authorities to work as adequately and efficiently as possible, ‘he said in a tweet.
The governors of Antwerp and West Flanders, two provinces that are currently particularly affected by the virus, were invited to the Security Council on Monday.
“I’m going to listen to what measures are being proposed and also to present what my mayors want,” says Anne Martens, acting governor of West Flanders. ‘Various municipalities have asked to reduce the bubble to ten people.’
In addition, Anne Martens is waiting for a scenario for intervention at a local level. ‘We would like to have objective instruments that say which measures are justified in which situation’, she says.
Cathy Berx, governor of Antwerp, also does not deny that she was invited on Monday. There is a nervous reaction about the language border to the situation in the city of Antwerp. “The governor could intervene,” it is suggested on Sunday evening. ‘We must not put the entire country in lockdown due to a local problem.’ (Belgian)