Wallonia threatens regional lockdown if new measures are ‘insufficient’

Belgium’s southern Walloon region said it stands “ready” to go one step further into a lockdown if federal coronavirus measures announced in a key meeting on Friday are too lax or uncoordinated.

“If the measures are seen as insufficient to attain a common goal, this being to bend the curve during this second wave, Wallonia is ready to go further in terms of re-confinement,” Walloon Interior Minister Christophe Collignon said.

Measures on the table include shutting down non-essential businesses and, potentially, new limits to social gatherings and citizens’ movement.

Collignon’s statements are a pointed message to both federal and regional leaders to act in concert and clamp down hard on the spread of the virus, and come just a day after Prime Minister De Croo stepped in to unify diverging measures imposed by the three regional governments.

Belgium’s federal and regional governments and the coronavirus commissioner, Pedro Facon, are set to hold a meeting of the Consultative Committee to review the coronavirus situation throughout the country on Friday.

“If there is no other way, it may also be necessary to limit non-essential trips,” Collignon said in an interview with RTL, in comments which come just days before the start of the autumn break.

“It would be like lying to people to tell them that the situation is under control,” the regional minister said, adding that measures currently in place were seen as “insufficient” by the French-speaking region.

If measures taken by the Committee on Friday are insufficient, Collignong said that Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo will summon his cabinet and commission Facon with presenting a review of the experts’ advice with a view of imposing tighter measures to curb infections in the southern half of the country.

“We are a small country and the virus knows no borders,” Collignon said. “Ideally, we will have nationwide measures that are at the height of the current state of the epidemic.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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