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Belgium Consultative Committee approves coronavirus barometer, code red

Christian Fernsby |
The Consultative Committee has approved the coronavirus barometer.

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Topics: BELGIUM   

The measures based on the barometer will come into effect on Friday 28 January under code red. In addition, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will require proof of a booster shot.

The Consultative Committee has established that the number of infections continues to rise sharply. The reproduction number for infections and hospital admissions remains higher than 1, which indicates an enhanced spread of the virus.

Furthermore, the number of hospital admissions is also increasing, while the number of intensive beds occupied by coronavirus patients is still slightly decreasing. This picture coincides with the Omicron variant which is more transmissible but causes a less severe form of COVID-19.

The coronavirus barometer is a tool for proactive policy preparation and communication. Its aim is to provide more predictability to the sectors involved, structure the decisions of the Consultative Committee and make them more transparent.

The coronavirus barometer has three phases that reflect the level of pressure on healthcare:

• Code yellow: the epidemiological situation and pressure on hospitals are under control
• Code orange: increasing pressure on healthcare system, intervention needed to reverse this trend
• Code red: high risk of overburdening the healthcare system

In addition to the pressures on healthcare, the Consultative Committee will make an overall assessment of the epidemiological situation and pay specific attention to mental health when determining the code.

The barometer focuses on public events, hospitality and leisure activities. To determine the measures, a distinction will always be made between indoor and outdoor activities as well as those that are non-dynamic/dynamic. Other sectors can be added afterwards if necessary. Education and social contacts will not be included.

Based on, among other things, the increasing trend in hospital admissions, the high positivity ratio and the rapid Omicron spread with an increased number of absences in schools, companies, healthcare sectors and public services, the Consultative Committee has decided to start the following measures under code red from 28 January:

Public events such as theatre performances and football matches will be allowed indoors and out, with the exception of dynamic indoor events such as dance parties.

Wearing a face mask is mandatory indoors and out, CST is required from 50 participants indoors and 100 outdoors. A capacity of up to 200 people is always allowed. The occupancy rate for larger venues is 70% or up to 100% as long as the air quality is maintained below 900 ppm. Weddings and funerals will remain allowed.

Catering establishments will be able to remain open until midnight. The face mask requirement will remain in place for customers and staff, CST is mandatory, as is the capacity of 6 people per table and no food or drinks can be consumed while standing. Nightlife and night clubs (indoor/dynamic) will remain closed.

Organised group activities such as youth activities, associations and amateur sports are also allowed. Up to 80 people indoors, up to 200 people outdoors. Residential camps are allowed.

With the exception of night clubs and dance halls, the following indoor areas that are currently closed may reopen to the public: amusement parks, indoor playgrounds, zoos and animal parks, subtropical swimming pools and recreational areas of swimming pools, trampoline parks, bowling and darts halls, snooker and billiard halls, paintball and laser tag centres, escape rooms, casinos, arcades and betting shops.

Anyone who was vaccinated with a single dose (Janssen only) or two doses (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford) before 1 October must have had a booster dose by 1 March. Otherwise, the validity of the vaccination certificate will expire.

The validity period of the recovery certificate will also be amended to 150 days.

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