A family doctor from Ranst in Antwerp province has been suspended indefinitely after he was found to be giving patients a mask-exemption certificate on demand.
The doctor, named Johan Denis, was first suspended by his local GP ring because he served one night duty where he refused to wear a mask.
He was then called in by the provincial medical commission to explain himself, at which point he argued that the whole pandemic is a conspiracy. His licence to practice medicine was withdrawn, as the commission found he was placing patients and the public health in danger.
Denis took his case to the Council of State, but his appeal was rejected.
According to Denis, Covid-19 is not as serious as is being pretended, there is no medical emergency and the whole pandemic is a worldwide conspiracy.
Similarly, the measures taken by the government to stop the spread of the disease are unjustified. When he had a period of night duty in August last year, he refused to wear a face mask, which led to is suspension by the local board.
But because that suspension only has local effect, the case was taken up by the provincial commission, where it was discovered he had given patients a certificate allowing them to to go without a face mask in public, without a valid reason for doing so.
In genuine cases, people with respiratory problems among others may be exempted from wearing a face mask in public, but in most cases they have to use alternative protection instead, for example a plastic face shield.
The fake certificates came to the attention of the local police after several people had been stopped for not wearing a mask, and had used the documents as an excuse.
Denis also told the commission he had no intention of performing PCR tests, or of sending his patients suspected of a high-risk contact through to a local test centre.
The commission withdrew his licence to practice, considering that his opinions represent a danger to his patients and others. He will remain suspended until he can prove he will follow the Covid-19 rules.