Belgian Prime Minister de Croo says he wants avoid Lockdown

BRUSSELS — Belgium is getting tougher up social restrictions if COVID-19 the number of cases is rising, but Prime Minister Alexander de Croo tells CNBC the goal is still to keep society open.

“It’s not the same virus anymore. This is a mutation of the virus, that’s a lot more contagious”, the Belgian prime minister said in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

However, he added: “U.S goal will be to keep society open to make sure that our companies remain open, create sure that our schools remain open, create sure that our hotels and restaurants and cafes remain Open. But with Additionally protection.”

The government said on wednesday that people should work by home four days a week to half December and three days after. All people from 10 years and older in indoor venues will be required to wear a mask unless seated. night clubs should also test guests so they can dance mask-free.

The daily average of Belgium of Covid infections over the last 7 days is 10,283. It hasn’t been that high ever since last winter. Average daily hospital admissions is currently around 280, the highest since the start of spring.

This is a similar image that in all over Europe. The Netherlands, Ireland, Slovakia and Austria are among the countries die recently re-imposed a certain level of social limits.

But for Belgian de Croo, the answer to the current wave does not target the unvaccinated – as Austria has done.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in the photo during a press conference.

HADRIEN EXPENSIVE | AFP | Getty Images

“It is always dangerous to compare” one country to another. If we compare our situation with Austria, for for example, the uptake of the vaccine in Austria is significantly lower than it is in Belgium,” said De Croo.

“The measurements die they take have a partial lockdown, that’s focus on the people who are not vaccinated. I am not sure that would be very efficient in Belgium because our situation is different here. A great majority, a lot higher share of the population, has been vaccinated,” he said.

According to data from Our World in Data, 74% of Belgium’s population is fully vaccinated, higher than the European Union average. In Austria, only about 64% have of the population has received a full dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Some Belgian politicians have discussed of vaccination should to be made mandatory, but Prime Minister De Croo emphasized that this is a “personal choice”.

“To be also important to make clear that vaccination is a choice. It’s a wise choice. But it remains a personal choice. I believe it is always better to convince people with facts,” he said.

Belgium gives boosters to the older part of the population but want soon extend this to more age groups.

“Within the next days, we will start an enormous campaign to make sure that the general public – So people also under 65, get access to a booster shot,” de Croo told CNBC at the European Business Summit.

Read More: World News

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