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Belgium facing the third wave

According to scientists, the British variant will constitute the majority form of the coronavirus within the kingdom within a month.

According to scientists, the British variant will constitute the majority form of the coronavirus within the kingdom within a month.

From our correspondent Max Hellef (Brussels) – The words of microbiologist Emmanuel André sounded like a bomb: Belgium has entered the “third wave” of the pandemic. The news hurt all the more since February was presented by the De Croo government as the moment when deconfinement could potentially begin. The reopening of hairdressing salons was considered emblematic of this scheduled return to normal life.

According to a report by KULeuven, the British variant (B117) will be dominant in Belgium within a few weeks, maybe a month. Emmanuel André points to a logical development: “Several months ago, we saw in England how this strain had been able to gain the upper hand over others, because it is more contagious, because it spreads more quickly in the society than other viruses ”. Projections show that the contagiousness of the variant in Belgium is 65% higher than that of the original virus. It mainly develops in children under 12 and in adolescents.

For scientists, the solution involves massive screening in order to contain sources of contamination as quickly as possible, and by strengthening barrier actions. Expected advice, repeated over and over in the media, which already resonates like the announcement of an extension of the current confinement. Adding to the pressure, a visit by the Belgian drug agency took place under the watchful eye of the cameras in the Walloon pharmaceutical company Novasep designated by AstraZeneca as being at the root of the delay in the production of its vaccines.

In the House, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called for “calm and caution” while admitting that “the situation is very delicate”. Several members of the majority have invited young people to give concrete answers. Testimonies come in all directions indeed report an alarming increase in psychological disorders in a youth deprived of socialization due to confinement and stressed by remote exams.

Studies show that adolescents subjected to the alternation of face-to-face and distance-learning courses are more affected than those under 12, who have retained a normal education since the fall and the reconfinement. Alexander De Croo believes that there is “no perfect solution” for young people. He highlights the health record of his government, judging Belgium in an “advantageous” situation compared to the progression of the virus and its variants.

New announcements are to be made by Alexander De Croo, Belgian Prime Minister, on February 5.

Photo: AFP

He announces the color: “Taking measures to keep this situation is a wise choice”. New health rules will be taken on February 5. It is not certain that they correspond to the easing initially promised by the government. A new framework for extracurricular activities has been endorsed by the government. On the one hand, it must allow adolescents to finally spend their time escaping neurosis. On the other hand, he must prevent the virus from taking advantage of this windfall to spread.

Children under 13 pay the bill: from now on they will have to practice extracurricular activities in bubbles reduced to a maximum of ten. Only one activity per week is authorized to reduce contact: it is sport or music. As for the young people from 12 to 18 years old until now confined, they can on the other hand take them outside and in groups of ten participants maximum.

And the hairdressers, who have become the unfortunate heroes of Belgian confinement? The very media Flemish virologist Marc Van Ranst is uncompromising: “Scientists completely agree on the prospects for hairdressers: there is none for the moment”. What scald the president of the Reform Movement (MR, French-speaking liberal) Georges-Louis Bouchez who has decidedly made the fate of this corporation a personal matter: “Scientific knowledge cannot develop on Twitter or on TV and political decision-making. reports to the representatives ”.


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