Today, the federal government and the federated entities convened the Consultative Committee via video conference to discuss the current coronavirus situation. The situation in our country has been improving for several weeks and is more favourable than in many other European countries.
The Consultative Committee has noted that the number of infections is gradually decreasing. Despite this general downward trend, the reproduction number is slightly rising again (Rt = 1.004). In addition, the number of intensive care admissions remains high.
However, according to the Consultative Committee, it is still too early to evaluate the possible impact of travellers returning from abroad, the festive season and the reopening of schools.
The Consultative Committee has therefore taken the following decisions:
- Teleworking remains mandatory. There will be more spot checks at workplaces on those employees who should be quarantining.
- Non-essential travel is still strongly discouraged. There will be more spot checks on compliance with testing and mandatory quarantine after non-essential travel. There will also be tighter controls on the roads for travellers returning from holiday. The current rules will be in force until at least February half term.
- Faster vaccination. The Consultative Committee is asking the Vaccination Task Force to speed up vaccination and make it more efficient. The news that the EU is doubling its purchase of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is of particular importance in this context.
- More tests. The ministers of Public Health and the Testing Task Force are mandated to increase the number of PCR and antigen tests within the current testing capacity.
- Vigilance in education. Particular attention must be paid to respecting sanitary measures and the quarantine of school-age children, in particular for school-age children from our neighbouring countries who have a less favourable epidemiological situation.
Need for perspective
The Consultative Committee appreciates the particularly precarious position of the self-employed and entrepreneurs who have had to keep their businesses closed for months now. In order to enable all sectors to reopen as quickly and efficiently as possible, the Consultative Committee has asked the Expert Commission (GEMS) to draw up a timetable for the reopening and to identify where more stringent protocols and additional sanitary measures are needed.
In addition, it has asked the COVID-19-Commissariat to submit concrete proposals to help motivate citizens during this difficult period.
The Consultative Committee will reconvene on 22 January 2021. At that time, the impact of the festive season and returning travellers can be better evaluated.