Most corona infections traced to personal contacts and factories


Covid-19 is spreading at home and at work and not at restaurants or shops, says Flanders’ health agency

Bubbles crucial

Most new coronavirus infections can be traced back to the family circle or the workplace, according to Flanders’ Agency for Care and Health. In contrast, the trail followed by contact tracers rarely leads to bars and restaurants, suggesting that safety measures there are proving effective.

Agency spokesperson Ria Vandenreyt told VRT that its contact tracers rarely had to call on the customer lists that cafes and restaurants have been obliged to compile since July. “We look for clusters of infections across Flanders, then we request more information on the ground,” she said. “In practice, we’ve only had to do this a few times in the hospitality industry. Until now, we’ve found that the sources of infection are mainly in families and companies.”

This is a sign that the safety measures in restaurants and bars are working, not that they can be relaxed, she added. “It is precisely because they are there that we detect so few infections.” This also goes for the collection of customer details, which will be needed as local contact tracers take up the task of following the development of the disease.

The catering industry is naturally pleased to be given a relatively clean bill of health. “We are very satisfied with this news, and proud of our operators and our customers who follow the safety rules carefully when eating out,” said Matthias De Caluwe of Horeca Vlaanderen on Twitter.

Photo ©Jasper Jacobs/BELGA