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A high circulation of the virus among hairdressers and in education? – Economic policy

A significant number of coronavirus infections have been detected among non-independent hairdressers, as well as among teaching staff, according to a university survey devoted to the risks associated with the health crisis in the workplace. As part of this study, contact tracers asked infected people where they thought they had been infected. A quarter of them (23%) replied that they had probably contracted the virus in their workplace.

The study, carried out jointly by the University of Hasselt, KU leuven, the external service for prevention and protection at work Idewe and Sciensano was presented Tuesday during the bi-weekly press conference of Sciensano and the crisis center.

The study maps the sectoral activities most exposed to the virus. “This analysis allows us to refine the fight against the spread of the coronavirus without jeopardizing the vitality of our companies or other sectors of activity,” said Professor Lode Godderis, co-author of the study and member the GEMS advisory board, which is advising the government during this health crisis.

Like many other industries, the non-medical contact professions are exposed to high circulation of the virus. This is particularly the case for non-independent hairdressers. “This is where the incidence is highest, despite compliance with health measures and protocols in place,” said Mr. Godderis.

An increased incidence was also observed among teachers in compulsory education. As of March 29, the incidence rate among this population was 670 cases, which is significantly higher than in any other area. “But thanks to the extended Easter holidays, the incidence rate has fallen sharply to approach that of the general population,” he said.

In the food industry, the meat processing, production and preservation sectors represent particularly high incidences: more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 employees over a period of 14 days. “This sector therefore requires special attention”, underlined Mr. Godderis.

Constant attention is also needed for certain manufacturing sectors. The professor thus evoked, for example, a particularly active household within a company of construction of furniture. In addition, wholesale and retail trade is also affected. Therefore, existing protocols should be examined to see if they cannot be optimized and implemented more efficiently.

Another sector at risk is the cleaning sector, including service voucher companies. No systematic screening takes place in these sectors and workers are at increased risk of encountering potentially infected people during their working day.

Good news, however, a significant drop in contamination has been observed in the health sector, where many people have been vaccinated. There is no more increase in cases. Vaccination is therefore bearing fruit, said Mr. Godderis.

Commissioner Corona Pedro Facon returned, during the press conference, to the testing strategy, particularly in the workplace. “Preventive and repeat testing is needed to reduce the risk in the workplace,” he said.

Last year, protocols and guides had been developed to better organize work during the health crisis. “The sectors most at risk must take additional measures,” insisted Mr. Facon. “We are currently using the federal stockpile of rapid antigenic tests to support companies and government agencies that wish to test their staff repeatedly. As of March 20, 365,000 tests have already been made available to 535 organizations. This initiative, which was scheduled to end at the end of April, is extended until the end of May, “he announced.

The study, carried out jointly by the University of Hasselt, KU leuven, the external service for prevention and protection at work Idewe and Sciensano was presented Tuesday during the bi-weekly press conference of Sciensano and the crisis center. The study maps the sectoral activities most exposed to the virus. “This analysis allows us to refine the fight against the spread of the coronavirus without jeopardizing the vitality of our companies or other sectors of activity,” said Professor Lode Godderis, co-author of the study and member the GEMS advisory board, which is advising the government during this health crisis. Like many other industries, the non-medical contact professions are exposed to high circulation of the virus. This is particularly the case for non-independent hairdressers. “This is where the incidence is highest, despite compliance with health measures and protocols in place,” said Mr. Godderis. An increased incidence was also observed among teachers in compulsory education. As of March 29, the incidence rate among this population was 670 cases, which is significantly higher than in any other area. “But thanks to the extended Easter holidays, the incidence rate has fallen sharply to approach that of the general population,” he said. In the food industry, the meat processing, production and preservation sectors represent particularly high incidences: more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 employees over a period of 14 days. “This sector therefore requires special attention”, underlined Mr. Godderis. Constant attention is also needed for certain manufacturing sectors. The professor thus evoked, for example, a particularly active household within a company of construction of furniture. In addition, wholesale and retail trade is also affected. Therefore, existing protocols should be examined to see if they cannot be optimized and implemented more efficiently. Another sector at risk is the cleaning sector, including service voucher companies. No systematic screening takes place in these sectors and workers are at increased risk of encountering potentially infected people during their working day. Good news, however, a significant drop in contamination has been observed in the health sector, where many people have been vaccinated. There is no more increase in cases. Vaccination is therefore bearing fruit, said Mr. Godderis. Commissioner Corona Pedro Facon returned, during the press conference, to the testing strategy, particularly in the workplace. “Preventive and repeat testing is needed to reduce the risk in the workplace,” he said. Last year, protocols and guides had been developed to better organize work during the health crisis. “The sectors most at risk must take additional measures,” insisted Mr. Facon. “We are currently using the federal stockpile of rapid antigenic tests to support companies and government agencies that wish to test their staff repeatedly. As of March 20, 365,000 tests have already been made available to 535 organizations. This initiative, which was scheduled to end at the end of April, is extended until the end of May, “he announced.

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