Belgian doctor feels coronavirus lows and highs as neighbours step away, but then applaud

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian doctor Elisabeth Lenoir is always careful to respect social distancing rules when she goes jogging after work in the village where she lives.

But locals, who know she comes into regular contact with terminally ill and coronavirus patients, move back a little further still as she runs by.

“I feel like Moses,” the 49-year-old, part of the palliative care team at a hospital in the nearby city of Arlon, told Reuters by telephone – likening those extra steps to the parting of the Red Sea waters before the Biblical prophet.

“It’s a little weird but it makes me laugh.”

Belgium, a country of 11.4 million, has been on lockdown since March 18. It has reported nearly 25,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,600 related deaths.

Her husband is also a doctor “so he understands, he is a little stressed that I could bring home the infection, he is afraid for me, much more than I am,” she said.

For Lenoir, the flip side to the stress and stigma comes at 20:00 every evening, when local communities including her neighbours open their windows and balconies to applaud the work of medical staff.

“It gives you courage and makes you want to continue,” she said.

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