“We are going to toughen the measures, four weeks will not be enough”, warns the Minister of Health

“There are two debates: toughening the measures and ensuring that they are implemented; and think about what we are going to do in the longer term, ”he summarizes. As he and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo have insisted in recent days, it will in any case be a long-term effort. “When you look at the epidemiologists’ forecasts, they say that with the type of measures you take, it takes at least eight weeks” for them to take effect.

The capacity of hospitals is at the center of concerns, given the increase in the number of sick people requiring clinical care. At the federal level, the “Hospital & transport surge capacity committee” has asked all hospitals to switch to “phase 2B” of the patient distribution plan for Monday, confirms the Vandenbroucke cabinet on Thursday. This is the highest expected phase. This means that 60% of intensive care beds, or 1,200 beds, must be reserved for patients suffering from Covid-19. This is already the case under phase “2A”. It will also be necessary to devote 25% of additional beds to intensive care (“extra-intensive” beds), as well as to increase the share, in the hospital, of beds reserved for Covid patients in non-intensive.

“We are reflecting with the hospitals” on capacity problems, assures the Minister of Public Health at the microphone of the RTBF. According to him, one of the keys will be to create intermediary structures, for example beds “between” intensive care and standard care.

Asked in the program “Terzake” (Canvas) about the Consultative Committee on Friday, the Covid-19 government commissioner Pedro Facon said that “politicians should not hesitate to take firm measures”. We must act to limit social contact, it is urgent, he explains. It will also be about “not to soften too quickly”.

“This is what health care is waiting for,” he says, while emphasizing the crying need for new means in this sector.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Health announced a series of support for general practitioners (20 euros per DMG managed) and specialists (budget of 400 million for those who were unable to invoice fees), as well as the formalization of the budget additional 2 billion euros for hospitals. Announcements welcomed Thursday by Absym, the Belgian Association of Medical Syndicates, which however ask that the authorities go further. A measure expected, for example, by President Luc Devos is better support for education and very practical information for infected citizens. “Explaining hygiene, explaining what to do when you are positive, how to be in quarantine, etc., we should be able to relieve general practitioners of that. For the moment, they are inundated with calls because tracing only calls positive citizens several days late ”.

“Our call to set up a large information campaign intended for the general public which, in addition to the general rules of social distancing, to wash their hands, to wear the mask, to stay at home in the event of illness, calls for respect the rules concerning tests, attestations and quarantine certificates have unfortunately not yet been heard, ”the Absym communicated on Thursday.


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