Belgium refrained from introducing new COVID-19 measures on Thursday, despite an impending spike in Omicron cases and hospitalizations.
“The coming weeks will be difficult. We are going to break new records for the number of people infected, “Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.” The numbers are on the rise and the situation will get worse before it gets better. “
The Pandemic Policy Advisory Committee agreed to keep the measures already in place, such as the 4-day telework requirement and the maximum capacity of 200 people in theaters and cinemas.
“Many hospitalizations are expected with a peak at the end of January. This could range from around 30,000 to 125,000 infections per day,” warned Steven Van Gucht, the interfederal spokesperson for the fight against the coronavirus.
The advisory committee’s decision comes two days after it decided to drop quarantine requirements effective Jan. 10 for fully vaccinated close contacts, despite spiral case numbers.
Belgium is experiencing a fifth wave of COVID-19 Omicron, with more than 11,000 daily cases of COVID-19 and 169 daily hospitalizations between December 26 and January 2. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, however, was reduced by nearly half from more than 800 in early December to 470 on January 5.
Another advisory committee meeting will take place by mid-January to develop a long-term strategy to deal with the crisis.