The COVID-19 pandemic has had and still has a remarkable impact on general medicine in Belgium. From the day the first Belgian case was diagnosed on February 4, 2020 until the beginning of de-containment- three full months have passed during which general medicine needed to re- structure itself more effectively to be able to speak up with one voice, adapted itself by switching to telemedicine during the population’s confinement period, and constantly developed updated management procedures. In the first month, general practitioners (GPs) did not expect a pandemic of this magnitude to occur. In the second month, things accelerated and GPs’ offices closed their doors, with GPs applying themselves the procedures they helped convey to their patients over the phone. By the third month, while suspicious cases sharply dropped, procedures needed to be strengthened. The situation is more difficult in nursing homes. Within 3 months, relations with patients, colleagues, paramedics, and institutions were, there, entirely altered. In other countries as well, there has been a profound change that is likely to profoundly impact medical practices in the long term. On the eve of a new phase consisting of progressive de-containment, general medicine is now properly prepared to assume its role of an essential player in the fight against coronavirus in the wider community.
COVID-19 in primary care medicine