The Institute of Public Health should have presented these figures but did not. Epidemiologist Koen Blot explained how difficult it is to make comparisons based on the raw numbers Sciensano has. Data on age, sex, other pathologies, etc. are missing.
What is more, these figures could induce a classification of the hospitals which, according to him, would threaten the management of the crisis. Some hospitals may face an influx of patients or prefer to report their cases in some other way.
Several opposition groups, including the N-VA, Vlaams Belang and PTB, rose up and demanded that the figures be disclosed. In the majority, the sp.a has also expressed its dissatisfaction. The chairman of the committee, Robby De Caluwe (Open Vld) recalled the right of control of the parliament and said he hopes for more explanations.
The decision not to communicate the raw figures was taken in consultation with the various departments. “But the law is the law (…) and if we are instructed to publish the figures, we will do so, probably anonymously,” replied the director of Sciensano, Christian Léonard.
The N-VA demanded the summons of the Minister of Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, but the majority did not follow it. Questions will be asked next Tuesday as part of a current affairs debate.