"We must intervene more drastically in schools", according to Yves Van Laethem

Given the worrying deterioration of the epidemiological situation in our country, a new consultation committee is taking place this Friday morning. A turn of the screw is expected. Ten days ago, members of GEMS, the group of experts advising the authorities, were already asking for stronger measures. Does that mean that we lost 10 days in the fight against the fourth wave? Yves Van Laethem, Interfederal spokesperson for the fight against Covid and member of GEMS, questioned about La Première, believes that “probably underestimated the opponent“.

We must now act. There was an absolute record of cases last Monday, more than 23,000 cases recorded. We will have to manage all these cases, work on our testing capacities: “That remains one of the big problems, is that we are running at full speed for testing for the moment. It’s going to be difficult to deal with this, but you absolutely have to. We must not lose the bridle and let go of the mad horse, so we must ensure as much as possible an ease for the testing, perhaps ensure still other ways of being able to do these tests and ensure the possibility of having a quarantine that is , for some people, paid. And that’s one of the problems, is that in industry, among others, it is not always obvious.

The tests

It is a question of modifying the moment when the test must be carried out, of carrying out tests on D + 4 and D + 5 instead of D + 1 and D + 7. “This would indeed halve the number of tests performed, explains Yves Van Laethem. We are currently close to the maximum with our 100,000 tests per day: partout, primary medicine, school medicine, among others, and medicine at the corporate level, is overwhelmed by testing.


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But the expert warns: “If the test is done on D + 3, for example, the person must, during the first few days, not do anything and take maximum precautions. We have to see how we would frame this rationalization of testing. ” It would therefore be a question of self-isolating while waiting to have his test, of taking responsibility.

The school is no longer in retreat and is no longer the witness of society

The virologist also recalls the need to better manage the situation in schools. “School medicine is outdated, he said, and the incidence in schools, both in the French-speaking and Dutch-speaking part of the country, is almost 50% higher than in the general public. So there is clearly a problem. As we have said, this time around, with the Delta variant, the school is no longer in retreat and is no longer the witness of society, but we really believe that it plays a role in the transmission, and here it is necessary to be able to intervene in a more drastic way than what has been done.

Wearing a mask from 10 years old “is always an option“. “We said so in the report. The situation in several southern European countries argues in this direction. In Italy or Spain, things have gone very well for a year. At the time, the infection rate there had been remarkably reduced thanks to this technique.

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