The number of corona infections continues to rise not only in Antwerp, but also in the rest of Belgium. On average, 491 people received a positive test result every day in the past week. 24 patients were hospitalized daily.
“In the meantime, we can say that the virus is circulating again intensively in our territory,” epidemiologist Steven van Gucht said at a news conference from the Crisis Center.
The number of patients in intensive care has doubled since the beginning of July. According to Van Gucht, Belgium can suppress the virus by following the basic rulesbut then it must be heeded.
Many Belgians don’t just do what the government asks them to do, says correspondent Sander van Hoorn. “When the Dutch see the usefulness, they tend to stick to a rule. A Belgian will say faster: nice for another. He will try to get out of the rule.”
The clear, visible rules, for example regarding the wearing of mouth masks, are followed in Belgium. But rules around social contacts go wrong. Outside the family, Belgians are allowed to have contact with a maximum of five people. “The government is not successful in addressing hard-to-reach groups. In neighborhoods with a lower socio-economic status, people do not comply with the rules.”
Working from home
Last week, another call was made to let people work from home. Part-time work is accepted in the Netherlands and there is a general sense of trust between employers and employees, but in Belgium the relationship is different. “Ideally, the employer would look at employees through a glass wall. Working in Antwerp is mandatory at home, in the rest of Belgium it is strongly recommended. Such an indication is necessary here,” says Van Hoorn.
Many Belgians distrust the government. The government is only in name, the direction is lacking. For example, the Belgian Minister of Health, Maggie De Block, did not see the use of face masks on the street. When virologists wanted to try it, the minister came under pressure tack.
Virologist Steven Van Gucht underlined today that ‘perseverance’ is the message. “And for the time being, these numbers will continue to rise. Hold on and have courage. Accept a few more difficult months. I am hopeful that I will return to a normal society next year.”