Belgium in cautious coronavirus reopening next month: Pragmatism of PM Wilmès

Belgium in cautious coronavirus reopening next month: Pragmatism of PM Wilmès

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Belgium announced a very cautious re-opening from the middle of May. However, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès stressed that strict monitoring would ensue. This is based on the unpredictability of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

In terms of deaths per million then Belgium is suffering enormously. Yet, unlike many other European nations, all deaths that are suspect to be related to coronavirus are being counted. This transparency is a light to Western European nations that aren’t announcing the real death toll.

Currently, just below 7,000 people have perished in Belgium. Hence, given the relatively small population of Belgium, this is very high. Despite this, positive signs indicate that a gradual re-opening is possible.

Wilmès is backing her actions with pragmatism and listening to a broad spectrum of advice. About lifting the lockdown then she is being guided by the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES).

Wilmès, knowing that nothing can be taken for granted, uttered, “Nothing is etched in stone.”

In the best-case scenario companies and businesses will re-open on either May 4 or May 11 – and onwards – based on social distancing and other measures. Schools will be opened one week later and nurseries from early June. On June 8, if everything goes to plan, then cafes and restaurants will be allowed to reopen.

The different phases apply to the whole of society. Thus, the above is a brief guide of how Belgium is cautiously planning to reopen. However, the timescale could change if infected cases or certain parts of the nation face unique situations.

Wilmès said, “The spread of COVID-19 has been slowed down, but the virus has not disappeared.”

The strategy of Belgium under Wilmès is based on caution, transparency, and listening to the advice of GEES and others. In this respect, despite not being the leader of Belgium for long, she is guiding the ship through the horrendous coronavirus storm. – The Brussels Times provides full details of the different phases for opening-up Belgium



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