The N-VA denounces the dramatic coronavirus approach in Brussels

22 April 2021
Gilles Verstraeten

“The scheme put forward by Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron (Ecolo) to have Brussels mayors carry out checks on mandatory testing and quarantine is a bad joke,” Brussels MP Gilles Verstraeten says. The information is not automatically transferred to the mayors, and there are no penalties at all.

“In principle, the aim of this legislation must be for data to be passed on to the mayors, who can take control and, if necessary, penalise people who refuse to be tested or who do not comply with the quarantine,” Gilles Verstraeten says. But that is not the case in Alain Maron’s scheme. “The region can only transfer the information to the mayor when the region’s contact tracing system determines that someone who needs to be quarantined or has to be tested openly says: ‘I’m not doing it.’ It’s not even mandatory.”

Waste of time

Moreover, Alain Maron limits the role of the mayors to such an extent that there is no question of imposing penalties. In fact, they are only allowed to engage municipal personnel, and not the local police. If the person still openly says that he or she does not want to be tested or quarantined, the mayor must send that confirmation back to the region. “There, they can then decide to maybe - if they feel like it - turn the case over to the public prosecutor’s office,” Gilles Verstraeten says. “After the whole circus has been completed, it’s probably two to three weeks later. This is just a complete waste of time. Does Mr Maron take us for fools? He might as well not have worked out a scheme at all.”

Drama for Brussels

For Gilles Verstraeten, however, it is in line with the Brussels government, especially the Vivaldi axis. “We need to raise awareness, ask nicely, explain, but we must never ever penalise even the most obvious and most serious offenders.” According to Gilles Verstraeten, this is a tragedy for Brussels, because testing and quarantine, alongside a successful vaccination campaign, are the basis for tackling the pandemic. “But in Brussels, it seems we are incapable of getting any of this on track efficiently. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for where we will be in Brussels this summer,” the MP concluded.

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