BRUSSELS – New lockdown, but what scope?

A new lockdown could be coming up if COVID-19 infection numbers don’t start to decrease within ten to twelve days, top virologist Marc Van Ranst warned on Thursday (8 October).

“If the figures for the number of infections and hospital admissions do not start to fall within ten to twelve days, there is only one option left: a lockdown,” Van Ranst told Het Laatste Nieuws.

He, however, emphasised that a next lockdown would look different from the total closure that Belgium had seen in the spring.

“Every lockdown will be different and if there is one again it will be, for example, local, per region or province. Or there will only be a ban on non-essential movements, without closing the schools,” Van Ranst said.

Other experts cited by the same paper confirmed these views.

“We have to reduce our contacts by 20%. Otherwise, we will have a peak that will be higher than in March and April,” said biostatistician Geert Molenberghs (KU Leuven), adding:

“If we don’t stick to the measures of the new government and the numbers don’t drop, then a lockdown would be the only way to get people to limit their contacts. But that is really the very last option.”

Newly-appointed Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) had already guaranteed that he won’t declare a full lockdown, but concerns are growing over the recent spike in cases.

Between 28 September and 4 October, an average of 2,595 of new cases per day had been confirmed, an increase of 64% compared to the previous week.

(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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