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Are quarantine rules comfortable?  Stephen van Gucht v., Health ministers discuss it on Tuesday

Are quarantine rules comfortable? Stephen van Gucht v., Health ministers discuss it on Tuesday

Health ministers from across our country’s policy levels will discuss a possible adjustment to testing and quarantine rules on Tuesday at 2pm.

source: Belgian, Radio 1

Health ministers have already met digitally on Monday evening, but the official Interministerial Conference (IMC) where final decisions will be made, has been postponed to Tuesday at 2pm.

A potential adjustment to the testing and quarantine strategy is on the table now that the omikron variant has again increased the number of infections.

Appeals to VBO, Voka and Unizo to relax

In recent days, organizations such as FEB and Unizo have already argued for a relaxation of quarantine rules. After all, employer organizations fear massive absenteeism in companies if current rules are maintained.

In France, the rules were already modified on Monday. The quarantine period in case of infection will be shortened from ten to seven days for those vaccinated. They can also be released from quarantine after five days if they can submit a negative test. Under certain conditions, vaccines with high-risk contact are not required to be quarantined.

Entrepreneur association Voka Antwerp-Waasland is calling for high-risk contact quarantines to be scrapped and self-tested to be replaced.

Virologist Van Guchte: ‘More relaxation means more spread’

Virologist Stephen van Guchte (Sciensano) is concerned about the relaxation of quarantine rules. “More relaxation means more spread,” responds Monday evening to Radio 1. In the long run, commitment only leads to more absenteeism, says Van Guchte. “Just look at schools in November. Quarantine rules have been relaxed, which has led to outbreaks and increased infection of children.” According to him, the quarantine rules act precisely to avoid such a more dangerous scenario.

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“Quarantine is a targeted measure. For example, you should not immediately resort to general measures, such as lockdown. Because although the omikron variant may be less pathogenic, it can still cause overload in the case of distribution very broad.”

Van Gucht is already calling 5 days of quarantine after a very short period of high-risk contact. He said he understands that the quarantine period for those infected will be reduced from 10 days to 7 days. “Many people are immune to the vaccine and/or the infection.” In the testing policy, Van Gucht considers the group of people who show symptoms a priority.