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Curfew, closure of catering for complete quarantine: these are possible options for extinguishing local outbreaks of the virus

What measures can mayors take to address a local corona outbreak in their municipality? A scenario is ready for this, now that we seem to be at the beginning of a second corona wave. Isolating certain places, setting a curfew, and closing shops and catering are some of the options available in a script design. Although not everyone is convinced. “It is a bulky and bureaucratic tool that makes working quickly and efficiently difficult,” said Christophe D’Haese, the mayor of Aalst in “De morgen” on Radio 1.

At the Consultation Committee between the different governments yesterday, the approach to the local corona fires was high on the agenda. The corona figures are growing exponentially, but at the moment these are still local sources of infection in a few cities and municipalities.

Extinguishing those local fireplaces is now a priority. The intention is that the local authorities must be able to tackle local contamination clusters in time with targeted measures. Such a local approach is necessary to avoid further spread and a general lockdown.

That is why a scenario “Local outbreak COVID-19” is available for mayors. That design still has to be approved by the National Security Council tomorrow. But it is clear which options are on the table for the local authorities.
When do we speak of a local outbreak?

For this, a number of alarm signals have been elaborated in the design of the scenario. This includes the number of new infections compared to the population of the municipality and how many days the number of new infections in the municipality is already rising. At the moment, the flashing lights are already going off in a number of municipalities, including Antwerp.

It is not the mayor who has to interpret the flashing lights himself to raise the alarm. That task is reserved for the Flemish Agency for Care and Health. However, there is a risk that the Agency will soon be unable to monitor when there will be too many local signals. In that case, Care and Health will have to investigate certain clusters as a priority.

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