Consultative committee discusses omicron, current measures remain in effect
The Consultative Committee discussed the epidemiological situation today. The rapid spread of the omicron variant is causing a sharp increase in the number of infections. It is therefore decided to keep the current measures in place. At the same time, the Consultative Committee also discussed the medium-term strategy with the focus on predictability and perspective.
Based on the latest scientific data, it appears that the omicron variant is three to four times more contagious, but possibly less pathogenic. This is already leading to a rapid increase in the number of infections (+79% the past week) and an increase in hospital admissions (+20%). Occupancy levels in Intensive Care units continue to decline for the time being, but the decline is less clear than last week.
The Consultative Committee considers that, in light of the current situation, it is appropriate to maintain the package of measures as they stand.
Current measures remain in effect
- Working from home
Working from home is still mandatory, for at least four days a week. A maximum of one return visit per week is possible, respecting a maximum staffing level of 20% at all times.
Teambuildings and other activities requiring physical presence in the workplace, both indoors and outdoors, remain prohibited.
- Meetings, activities, and events
Current restrictions or closures on certain gatherings, activities, and events - for example, in the hospitality industry, nightlife or sporting and cultural life - remain in place.
The Consultative committee confirms the planned reopening of schools starting January 10. This again means in-person teaching for preschool, primary, secondary, and part-time arts education. The following preventive measures must be respected:
- permanent focus on ventilation,
- face mask is required from 6 years of age,
- compliance with rules on testing and quarantine. Classes will be closed from 4 infections (children with symptoms),
- meetings continue to take place online
- mixing of class groups in common indoor areas (study rooms, refectories, etc.) should be avoided as much as possible,
- one-day excursions are allowed in accordance with the rules in force in society,
- out-of-school activities with overnight stays remain suspended.
Parents are called on to self-test their children as much as possible.
With regard to higher education, the Consultative Committee invites the Ministers of Education, together with the relevant education stakeholders, to determine how higher education will be organized as of January 10, subject to which (additional) preventive measures.
Rules on testing and quarantine
The Consultative Committee takes note of the decision of the Ministers of Health who, based on the latest scientific information on the omicron variant, have changed the testing and quarantine policy, with effect from January 10.
Under this new policy on testing and quarantine, self-testing becomes increasingly important. Self-tests are available in supermarkets and pharmacies. For people who benefit from an increased allowance, self-tests can be bought in pharmacies at 1 EUR (max. 4 self-tests per person per 14 days).
Medium-term strategy and corona barometer
The Consultative Committee also discussed the COVID-19 Commissariat's preparatory work on a medium-term strategy and the draft corona barometer. The COVID-19 Commissariat was asked to further refine and develop the barometer.