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Consultative Committee decides on stricter measures and appoints COVID-19 Commissioner

Today, the Federal Government and the Minister-Presidents of the federated entities addressed the epidemiological situation regarding COVID-19. The Consultative Committee assessed the situation as being particularly serious and therefore decided to adopt stricter measures. In addition, the Consultative Committee has appointed a COVID-19 Commissioner.

Stricter measures

The current development of the pandemic is of particular concern; the number of infections, hospital admissions and deaths is on the rise. In order to avoid a general lockdown, the Consultative Committee has decided on a number of stricter measures based on advice from CELEVAL.

  • Close contacts: limitation to a maximum of 3 close contacts per month;
  • A close contact implies contact closer than 1.5 m without a face mask;
  • Private gatherings at home: maximum 4 people, maintaining a social distance or with a face mask if social distancing is not possible;
  • Cafés, canteens and other drinking establishments: maximum 4 people per table, except for family members living under the same roof;
  • Non-organised outdoor gatherings: maximum 4 people, except for family members living under the same roof;
  • Closing time cafés: 11 pm;
  • Additional awareness-raising and enforcement efforts will be implemented to ensure that these measures are applied everywhere;
  • Working from home is highly recommended, several days per week.

These measures form the ‘national basis’. In those provinces where the situation is more serious (based on the future barometer), the Governor should propose further measures, in consultation with the Minister of the Interior and the COVID-19 Commissioner. These measures may apply to all or a part of the province.

Strict adherence to these measures is absolutely necessary to protect our healthcare capacity, to keep schools fully open and to protect the elderly and vulnerable. If these measures are not followed, even stricter measures will be necessary. Our social life will be further curtailed and our economy will be seriously damaged. Following the measures is our mutual responsibility.

These measures shall apply throughout the territory from Friday 9 October until Monday 9 November, after which point they shall be reviewed

Appointment of COVID-19 Commissioner

The Consultative Committee has appointed Mr Pedro Facon as COVID-19 Commissioner. He will be assisted by Ms Carole Schirvel, Deputy COVID-19 Commissioner. The Consultative Committee has tasked the COVID-19 Commissioner with making the barometer operational as soon as possible, this includes adapting the sectoral protocols and providing a communication plan.

The COVID-19 Commissioner will be responsible for coordinating the Health Policy of the Federal Government and the federated entities. His term of office shall be for a period of 12 months and shall be renewable for further periods of six months.

The Commissioner will be assisted by an inter- and multidisciplinary scientific committee which may be supplemented by foreign scientists and by a team of project managers. It will keep abreast of new insights on the virus in a structured manner and monitor the social, economic and societal impact of the measures.

Further development of the COVID-19 barometer

The Consultative Committee took note of CELEVAL’s work on the barometer. The COVID-19 Commissioner is instructed to further develop the barometer, in particular to adapt the sectoral protocols and to integrate them into the barometer. At each stage (colour) of the barometer, it must therefore be explicit as to what specific measures apply in the various sectors.

The barometer can be launched as soon as it is fully developed, with clear indicators and measures adapted to each sector and target groups, once a stress test of the mechanism has been performed.