Last week, amid rising coronavirus infections, Belgium’s Security Council called a halt to the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions and, instead, tightened some of these restrictions. The reaction was less than positive, with meany experts saying that the new restrictions didn’t go
far enough and calling for more frequent meetings of the National Security Council.
So they met again yesterday and, to nobody’s surprise, restrictions will be tightened.
The aim, according to Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, is to avoid another full lockdown.
From 29 July, and for at least the next four weeks, social bubbles will be reduced to a maximum of 5 fixed people per household, children under 12 not included. Within this bubble, caution is necessary: keep your distance and wear a face mask if required.
Non-guided events, such as trips and gatherings with family and friends, as well as receptions, such as weddings, however, are limited to groups of 10 people, children younger than 12 not included. An exception will be made for summer camps.
This is quite a tightening of the existing rules and remains in place for the next four weeks: all of August, in other words. It’s also cause a bit of confusion, which has led to a a clarification as to how you can have only 5 social contacts per household, but still take trips maximum of 10 people.
The numbers of people allowed at events is also reduced and anyone who wants to go shopping will have to go on their own again. Not that I’ve seen the inside of a supermarket since March, but I won’t be surprised if I start seeing queues of shoppers outside again.
The requirement to leave contact details to aid contact tracing is also extended to also include wellness centres, sports classes and more. Frankly, I’m surprised these types of location weren’t already included.
While the aim here is to avoid going into a full lockdown, stricter measures have not been ruled out. It’s going to take a couple of weeks before we know whether these measures will bring the infection rate back under control. If they don’t, who knows where we will go from here.
No-one is admitting, as far as I have seen, that we are being hit by a second wave of the pandemic. But it certainly feels like it from here.