Consultation committee decides on the end of the Easter break

The federal and state governments today discussed the corona situation in the Consultation Committee.The Consultation Committee notes that the pressure on healthcare remains relatively high, especially in intensive care units. More than a third of all hospitalized corona patients are in intensive care. That is a lot more than a year ago or than last autumn. The pandemic has changed face due to the advance of new virus variants and has become more contagious and more aggressive. However, the Committee also notes that a number of core values are evolving favorably:
  • a decrease in the average number of daily Covid-19 infections;
  • a starting drop in the average number of hospital admissions;
  • the reproduction number that is below 1.
In addition, the Committee notes a further acceleration of the vaccination campaign. On April 19, it is expected that 60% of the 65+ age group will have received a first vaccination, on April 26 this will be more than 70%, by the end of April more than 80%. In addition, we expect that more than 80% of the 18-65 age group with underlying conditions will have received a first vaccination by the end of May. Science shows that a high degree of immunity is already achieved two to three weeks after a first vaccination.Based on this overall picture, the Consultation Committee has taken the following decisions:

1. Reopening of schools

After the end of the Easter holiday on April 19, classes will resume, according to the pre-Easter break regime. That means:
  • Pre-primary education, primary education, special secondary education, the first stage of secondary education and the ‘learning and working’ system: full-time presence in the classroom;
  • Second and third grade secondary: 50 percent attendance in class;
  • Higher education: physical presence on campus one day a week.
Exams may take place physically.If the infection rates evolve favorably, and after an evaluation by the Ministers of Education to be submitted to the Consultation Committee, full-time secondary education can resume full-time in the classroom from 3 May.

2. Non-essential journeys: strict regime of testing and quarantine

The travel ban for non-essential travel within the European Union will expire from April 19. For travel outside the European Union, the European rules continue to apply. However, a negative travel advice continues to apply to all non-essential journeys.A strict regime of mandatory testing and quarantine applies upon return. On the basis of the Passenger Location Form, the police will check who will not be tested upon return. Anyone who does not comply with the test rules risks a corona fine of 250 euros.

3. End of Easter break for shops and non-medical contact professions

The Easter break ends on April 26. This means that from then on people are allowed to come out together in groups of a maximum of 10.Retailers can also receive customers again without an appointment from this date. There is no longer any need to shop alone, but can be accompanied by one other member of the household.Non-medical contact professions – including hairdressers and beauticians – are allowed to reopen under the stricter protocols.At the same time, some thirty pilot and pilot projects are being launched to determine practically and under scientific guidance how the various economic sectors can start safely or prevent their closures in the future.

4. Seven out of ten people over 65 vaccinated and protected: outdoor package

On May 8, when virtually all over-65s are vaccinated and protected, a broad outdoor package will come into effect.Organized activities (eg sports club or association) are possible with a maximum of 25 people and this for all ages, but without public and without overnight stay. Children up to the age of 12 can also enter with a maximum of 10Furthermore, the following things are also possible outside:
  • Restaurants and cafes: terraces outside
  • Events (incl. Receptions and banquets), cultural performances and worship services for up to 50 people.
  • Amusement parks
  • Professional junk and flea markets
The curfew will be abolished and replaced by a ban on gathering together, whereby between midnight and 5 a.m. people may only enter the public space with a maximum of three people or with members of their own household (people living under the same roof)

5. Two close contacts at home

From 8 May, a household may receive two people at the same time, provided that these people also belong to the same household. Children up to and including 12 years of age are not included.

6. Almost all over-65s and vulnerable people vaccinated and protected: broader perspective

A new, important milestone will be when almost all over-65s and vulnerable people with underlying conditions are vaccinated and protected. We expect a high level of immunity in that group in the first half of June.If the figures permit it, in particular the occupancy rate in intensive care, the external plan will be broadened further and there will also be room for more activities, provided that at that time there is a lasting decrease in the pressure on intensive care so that high-quality care is provided. for covid and non-covid patients is guaranteed.

7. Importance of vaccination

The Consultation Committee notes that in some parts of the country too few people show up for their vaccine appointment. Vaccination is the only structural way out of the pandemic. The vaccines are effective and safe. Possible side effects are very rare and mild, especially when compared to the symptoms of a COVID infection that are thousands of times more frequent and deadly. So protect your life and your loved ones by getting yourself vaccinated.
Source: Belgium.be