Coronavirus: Health Minister warns of impending ‘tsunami’ in Belgium

“We are close to a tsunami” in Brussels and Wallonia, Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke warned on Sunday on RTL-TVi.

The “tsunami” would be a situation in which “we no longer control what is happening,” Vandenbroucke said. Brussels and Wallonia are dangerously close to such a situation, he said on RTL-TVI’s “C’est pas tous les jours dimanche” programme.

“If infections keep increasing, the number of hospitalisations will be so high that non-Covid care will be postponed more and more,” Vandenbroucke warned. He noted that the “situation in Wallonia and Brussels is the worst [in Belgium], so it’s the worst in all of Europe.”

New coronavirus infections in Brussels and Wallonia were “50% higher on Tuesday than, for example, in Île de France,” he noted.

However, the Public Health Minister defended the new rules decided on Friday by the Consultative Committee. These have been described as not strict enough by some observers, who feel a more restrictive curfew – from 9:00 PM as in major French cities, for example – should be imposed, along with mandatory face masks everywhere.

“A minimum common base has been defined,” Vandenbroucke said in response. It can and will need to be complemented, where necessary, by more local measures but, in the final analysis, “people’s behaviour is essential,” he added.

However, further progress also needs to be made in future, for example on testing, the Minister said.

In this regard, a “new strategy” that will “combine PCR tests, fast tests, saliva tests etc” is being worked out, according to Vandenbroucke.

This also paves the way for the reimbursement, in the near future, of a fast test, for example for some categories of people.

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The Brussels Times

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