Belgium has decided to ban its population from non-essential travel outside its borders from Wednesday January 27 and until March 1 due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic and concerns over the English variant virus. “There was a certain indiscipline in the way people were tested”, explains on franceinfo, Saturday 23 January, Philippe Close, mayor of the Belgian capital who considers that it is“a radical but necessary measure”. Brussels is already subject to a curfew from 10 p.m., the rest of the country from midnight.
franceinfo: What is the situation in your city?
Philippe Close: It is very weird, like in many large European municipalities. We have the shops that are open but not the restaurants or cafes. We have teleworking which is widely used, higher education which only works remotely and by video.
“We have a city that lives but is semi-drowsy.”Philippe Close, mayor of Brussels
It is therefore very strange for a city like Brussels, especially in the European quarter. We are really not in the Brussels we usually know.
It’s semi-confinement, do you have a curfew like in France?
Yes, we have a curfew, in Brussels until 10 p.m. and in the rest of the country at midnight. You know that in the first wave, Belgium failed to master this first wave. We therefore took very strict measures.
“In Belgium, in December there are places where we had to evacuate patients to Germany in particular, but this time it’s the opposite, there are Brussels hospitals that welcome patients from other countries . “Philippe Close
We have no overruns [concernant l’occupation des hôpitaux] but we remain extremely vigilant and mobilized in our hospitals. We are paying particular attention to other diseases for which interventions had to be postponed because of Covid-19 and we do not want the population to suffer the consequences.
Is the English variant present in your home?
Yes, there are cases, he was mainly present in the province of Antwerp, probably after returning from vacation. What prompted the federal government to take this radical decision to no longer allow [à partir de mercredi les voyages non-essentiels hors des frontières] departures until early March. There was a certain indiscipline in the way people got tested. This is a very radical measure, but it was necessary to avoid relapse into an epidemic when we are in the process of mass vaccination. We hope that those over 65 will be vaccinated by the end of March and by then we will have reached the bulk of the population at risk. We must hold on until then. We are all dependent on vaccine suppliers, our centers are ready. We just have to have enough doses.