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“If everyone celebrates without restraint, the consequences will be incalculable”

This Wednesday, December 22, a new consultation committee was held. If we thought that we were heading towards a status quo of the measures in force in Belgium, others were announced by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, such as the closure of cinemas and theaters or the return of shopping to of them.

After the press conference following Codeco, GEMS experts let it be known that the decisions announced went further than those advised. In the aftermath of a new historic day for our country, our colleagues from HLN interviewed the microbiologist and former interfederal spokesperson for the fight against the coronavirus Emmanuel André.

The one who was one of the first to sound the alert concerning the Omicron variant of Covid-19 fears that the end of the year holidays will accelerate the contaminations. According to Emmanuel André, “we will not know more about the impact of this variant on our hospitals before the beginning of January (…) This is only the beginning of the curve, you do not know how far it will go. So far, European data shows no difference in severity between Omicron and Delta: in this case, 1 to 1.5% of those infected risk ending up in hospital. As a doctor, I think we have to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and with the Omicron ramping up it’s a big challenge ”.

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It is clear that Christmas and New Year are worrying the microbiologist from KULeuven. He estimates that “it is already clear that by Christmas we will have 10,000 infections a day. This does not mean that there is already an infected person in every family. But Christmas and New Years are crucial celebrations which provide an excellent opportunity for a two-stage amplification of the virus ”.

“If everyone celebrates without restraint, the consequences will be incalculable”, deplores Emmanuel André, who adds that “if a decision must be taken at that time on the relaxation of the measures, the reopening of schools and others activities could be compromised. Limiting our contacts is therefore the key ”.


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