Experts from the Risk Assessment Group (RAG) were already emphasizing the usefulness of mouth masks as of February 21, it emerges from its reports released recently and to which most of the Flemish newspapers come back on Thursday.
In its opinion of February 21, the RAG declares that reusable and washable masks will be necessary to fight against the coronavirus, “because it is expected that there will be a shortage of cheap disposable masks if a pandemic develops in the near future “.
It was not general advice for the whole population. Experts wanted to recommend these reusable masks for people with symptoms of a respiratory disorder, and for those entering the same room as suspected cases of Covid-19 with mild symptoms, such as family members or caregivers.
On March 8, the RAG then gave its opinion on a possible epidemic in Belgium: we must eventually prepare for large-scale measures such as the cancellation of events and the closing of public places, wrote the experts. At the time, they advised against closing schools because it already seemed at that time that children were not major vectors. However, four days later, the schools still closed.
Also on March 8, the RAG concluded that it was impossible to conduct contact tracing within a reasonable time. The system was finally implemented in May.