EJP Vice Chairman Alexander Zanzer on the COVID situation in Belgium: “We are only at the beginning of the epidemic”

Due to the COVID spread all round the globe we asked EJP Vice Chairman Alexander Zanzer to give the overview of the situation with the virus in Belgium.


1. What is the current situation with COVID in your country?

 – As of 12, March Belgium reported 314 confirmed cases of COVID with 3 reported death. 

Current situation: first the government didn’t take it serious enough. Now, stringent measures are in place after 3 persons died. no visits in old age homes and no gatherings of more than 1000 people. 

 2. What measures is Belgium taking?

The official advice for the general public remains largely dependent on citizens’ own awareness and response to at least three symptoms believed to signal an infection with the novel Covid-19 coronavirus and which are common to other respiratory ailments: fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

Besides focusing significantly on personal hygiene, the current approach also keeps doctors on the front lines of the response to the outbreak, since it is up to them to decide whether a patient’s symptoms warrant a coronavirus test.

Citizens should stay home if they develop symptoms of the virus. 

Also no visits in old age homes and no gatherings of more than 1000 people. 

3.Are any extra measures taken locally?

Companies are encouraged to allow employees to work from home in an effort to limit the number of commuters in the country’s public transport systems as well as to “slow down,” the spread of the virus.

4. What is your assessment of the situation?

“We can now lower the peak or postpone it. However, that requires everyone to do their part. Even those who do not belong to a high-risk group have a responsibility to the rest of the population. Government recommendations are very important”

5. Could you give us your forecast of the situation?

Pesach approaches and the Jewish population also starts to take it seriously. 

I am afraid that half-measures are not enough. The virus spreads faster than they thought and is more deadly. I think that the government will take more lock down measures, but could be too late to halt in a significant way the spread. I expect small measures to follow.