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Belgium. The army sent to the Covid-19 front (Ludivine Dedonder)

(B2 in Neder-Over-Heembeek) To avoid repeating the mistakes of the spring, the new Minister of Defense intends to mobilize her troops. This is evidenced by his visit to the Queen Astrid military hospital on Wednesday (28). B2 accompanied her

Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defense during a visit to the Brussels military hospital, Wednesday (c) AP/B2

This is one of the lessons of the first wave of spring. The soldiers had been mobilized rather late. The military hospital, which nevertheless has significant potential, remained underutilized in the early days. The new grand coalition government (known as 'Vivaldi') therefore intends to immediately bring its soldiers to the front of Covid-19. A notable difference with France which has, on this point, a more cautious attitude.

A reserve of 1500 soldiers available

« As soon as I arrive " beginning of October, " I have directly requested a detailed capacity analysis to be pro-active » explains Ludivine Dedonder (Walloon PS) behind her mask in the tricolor colors (black yellow red) of Belgium. As a result, the country today has “ 1500 soldiers available, including 350 from the medical component. And the others are in logistical support ". It is " fifteen times more than during the first wave, when we had a hundred soldiers “, she explains, a bit proud of the result. And this help important will be even more so in the weeks to come. she promises.

Ready to deploy a field hospital

These soldiers are immediately available. If we have to support a field hospital, we [will]” she says, answering B2's questions. « The military by nature must be ready to react to any emergencyThe military are accustomed to crisis situations. » And this assistance extends to everyone, particularly to rest homes (which had been somewhat abandoned during the first wave).

Within 24 hours in nursing homes if there is a problem

If a need arises, just for example for a nursing home manager to go to the bourgmestre [the mayor] or the [provincial] governor. This then sends the information to the national crisis center, which dispatches it. And we are ready to intervene the next day ". Concretely, the army can do a lot, the minister explains: “ We need people to help people with disabilities to eat, disinfect the premises. We need paramedics, medical transport. We can train staff in nursing homes (MRS) or provide logistical support ».


As for cooperation with European partners, it is very present, rejoices L. Dedonder. There is a " good understanding and good support ". Belgium " has already received an aid offer from Germany, less impacted by the virus for the moment, to take patients ". This solidarity was visible during the last NATO ministerial meeting last week.

(Aurelie Pugnet)

Read also: Sophie, Ludivine, Annelies. A trio of women take the helm of sovereign ministries in Belgium

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