Belgians to choose FOUR people to visit their home as lockdown eased

Who would you pick? Belgians have to choose just FOUR friends or relatives allowed to visit their home as nation eases Covid-19 lockdown rules

  • ‘Buddy system’ is to be introduced tomorrow on Belgium’s Mothering Sunday 
  • Belgium is planning to hire 2,000 call-centre ‘corona detectives’ for tracing 
  • The country has the highest per capita death rate from coronavirus in the world 
  • Similar ideas are being contemplated in the UK where people could meet in social bubbles of fewer than 10 people  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Belgians will be able to choose just four relatives or friends to visit their home, as the country prepares to further ease its coronavirus lockdown. 

The ‘buddy system’ is to be introduced tomorrow as Mothering Sunday is celebrated in Belgium. 

However, the reunions will be potentially fraught with difficulties, as participants  must still adhere to social distancing rules. 

The four-person limit is designed to make it easier to track and trace any fresh infection outbreaks.

At the start of the week Brussels allowed people to walk with a second person when outdoors.

Operators wearing a protective facemask, work in a call centre for ‘contact tracing’, where phonecalls are made to map how many people in Brussels have contracted Covid-19

Belgium are also hiring 2,000 so called call-centre ‘corona detectives’ rather than rely on a phone tracing app. 

Authorities have said they don’t believe enough people will download the app or use it to make it reliable.

Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmes, who heads a temporary emergency government, warned that people must respect the rules or risk a return to stricter lockdown measures and a second wave of infection. 

The relaxation will see citizens make their four selections as to who can visit them, and once made, can’t be changed. 

Ms Wilmes also confirmed all shops will reopen on Monday with strict social distancing rules.  

Belgium, has a population of 11.5 million and has the highest per capita death rate from coronavirus in the world.

However, this has been put down to its meticulous reporting system. 

The country has recorded 50,781 cases and 8,415 deaths to date. 

At the start of the week Brussels allowed people to walk with a second person when outdoors

Similar ideas are being considered in the UK. At the end of April, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was considering relaxing the lockdown rules so grandparents could see their grandchildren. 

She said: ‘I know from my own parents who are not seeing their grandkids just now, I understand the anguish of that.

‘We’re all missing seeing our loved ones so we all want to get beyond that as quickly as possible.

‘Every country is going through these decisions, none of us are through this pandemic yet, but some countries are starting to look at slightly expanding what people would define as their household – encouraging people who live alone to maybe match up with somebody else who is on their own or a couple of other people to have almost kind of bubbles of people.’

She added: ‘And the key thing there is, if you’re seeing maybe one or two more people outside your household, it’s got to be the same people on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis so you’re still limiting the ability for the virus to transmit.

‘Now, none of these are fixed decisions yet, but these are all the kind of things we’re trying to work through.   

At the end of April, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was considering relaxing the lockdown rules so grandparents could see their grandchildren. Ms Sturgeon (pictured) pauses for a 2 minute silence to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day

Under scientists’ proposals to Government, social bubbles could be limited to fewer than ten people and super-spreader indoor events could be banned until well into 2021 to avoid a second peak of coronavirus infections.

Britain could face an ‘exponential growth’ in Covid-19 cases if groups of more than ten are allowed to get together, according to the results of two studies.

The country won’t be able to return to ‘normal’ until a vaccine is found, according to Dr Mike Lonergan, senior author of a study by the Division of Molecular and Clinical Medicine at the University of Dundee. 

He told MailOnline the only way lockdown can be safely eased is if people keep only 10 per cent of their former social lives.

‘It doesn’t look like it’s possible to go back to how things were before. It looks hard to believe we’ll do a tenth of the things we were once doing,’ he said. 

Senior epidemiologist Adam Kucharski has warned Britain could face ‘exponential growth’ in Covid-19 cases if groups of people start getting together for celebrations or religious services. 

Dr Lonergan explained that if a person went to the pub every day for ten days before lockdown. Now they could only safely go once. 

‘There’s no end point to it. If we want things to be stable they need to be how they are now, in lockdown. This will have to stay until something drastic changes.’  

When large groups meet in badly ventilated environments, such as churches, the infection rate soars and the virus spreads three times faster, the study suggests. 

The findings mean going to church or celebrating birthdays could put thousands of people at risk because of the increased rate of infections. 

But gatherings where people stay at a distance apart from each other and stay outside could be allowed. 

NHS England today recorded 207 more COVID-19 deaths, followed by Scotland (36), Wales (nine). Northern Ireland is still to announce its figures later today.

The Department of Health has yet to release the final daily toll, which takes into account care home fatalities in England and also provides an update on cases, hospital admissions and testing.

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