Invited to the filming of “It’s not Sunday every day”, the Walloon Minister of Health took stock of the Belgian situation. “It is improving,” the minister began. “If we look at the contamination, compared to a year. Here, everything is open: shops, universities … Everything is open,” he continued, lamenting the virtual disappearance of barrier gestures. “We have 23 people dying today against more than 200 a year ago and 500 people in intensive care. That’s a lot, but given the amount of contamination from a year ago, it was too many times more.”
According to the minister, it is thanks to coronavirus vaccines, barrier gestures and the CST that the current situation remains manageable. Despite everything, he asks for caution: “We see that the variant is circulating. It is twice as contagious,” he warns. “This means that we must vaccinate much more and resume protective gestures during this month.”
When asked about the effectiveness of the vaccine, Christie Morreale indicated that she saw 15 times fewer groups in Walloon nursing homes thanks to the vaccine. “Is the vaccine the solution that will work 100% on its own? No,” he added. “The vaccine is not 100% effective: it is 90% against contamination, 70% against serious forms and a booster is needed at 6 to 8 months.”
The minister stressed the importance of continuing to apply barrier gestures, even once vaccinated. “In regions where we have been vaccinated a lot, as in Flanders, if we remove the barrier gestures, we have an increase in contamination,” he insists. “We must be able to limit as much as possible to limit closures, we see it in other countries. It is for four weeks that we must be vigilant. If we are, I think we will make it through the winter.”
Towards a compulsory vaccination for all?
The minister said that it was important to take very quick measures to prevent the circulation of the virus, but he wants to address the mandatory vaccination of the population. “I had always said that it was necessary to see, if we arrive in this fourth wave, if we can withstand the shock or not. If we see that we have postponed the attention, as was the case. Case before, then we can no longer accept it. We will have to take measures every more forceful “, said the minister.” We will have to put on the table the obligation of vaccination or all the measures that will lead to an obligation of vaccination for all, I think it is important. “
“I think we have to see how things are going in the next few weeks. If we have to switch to postponing care again, I think we should be able to go further,” he explains. According to the minister, this debate must take place democratically in parliament as well as with the bioethics committee.
One solution mentioned by the minister is the implementation of a “vaccine pass” instead of the Covid Safe Ticket, as is the case in several countries. This would mean that one test would no longer be sufficient to obtain the CST, it would be necessary to be fully vaccinated or to have been contaminated within 6 months.
In any case, Christie Morreale advocates for stronger measures. Codeco could also be brought forward, scheduled for this Friday. “The Prime Minister is in the process of consultation to see if he anticipates Codeco or not,” he said.
As for the confinement, the minister thinks that “everything possible must be done to avoid it.” “More than 80% of the Walloons have been vaccinated and it works. If we resume the barrier gestures, with the use of masks and telework whenever possible, we apply that. We do it for four weeks, I think we will cushion the impact and we will avoid closures, “he explains. “If those responsible do not make the decision immediately, then inevitably the risk of redefinition is significant.”
Finally, the minister explained to wait for opinions on the use of the mask by children as well as the vaccination of the youngest before taking a position. A report by Gems, which will focus on the usefulness or otherwise of the use of masks by children, will be published this Sunday.
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