Belgium in Brief: You Can't Gather With 25 People

Belgium in Brief: You Can't Gather With 25 People
Credit: Belga/COBE/Brut/

Breaking the rules is breaking the rules, no matter who you are. That’s what’s important here.

This is perhaps the part of the biggest story of yesterday which was easily overlooked amid the rest. When Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer was caught by police and fined, it was ultimately because he broke the rules of the coronavirus measures.

Sure, there were was a multitude of scandalous details as Twitter in Belgium (and beyond) exploded with people trying to guess identities.

It’s a story that will keep growing, but even if you boil it down to the basics it was a gathering of +/- 25 people. It was a sex party of 25 people, granted, but a dinner party with 25 people would also have seen similar results - but would potentially have been read less.

This happened in a country where you currently can’t go to IKEA to buy a couch with another person. This happened in a country where you can shop, but can’t have both of your parents over at the same time in you want to meet inside– if you happen to be in the same country.

Anyway, enough of that, let's have a look at the rest of the news.

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1. Belgium’s rules won’t change again this year, warns De Croo

Belgium’s current coronavirus fighting measures will not be reduced until next year, according to the latest comments by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Speaking to VRT NWS, De Croo responded to speculations from Belgium’s political sphere that there could be a chance to further reduce measures if figures continued to improve.

“We took a decision on Friday,” said De Croo. “We agreed on the threshold below which we have to go before we can relax. All models show that we will reach that threshold at the beginning of January. If we stick to the current measures, we can then look at easing it.” Read More.

2. UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

The United Kingdom has approved the Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19, a government spokesperson announced on Wednesday.

“The government has today accepted the recommendation from the MHRA to approve Pfizer – BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care. Read More.

3. Hungarian MEP resigns after attending sex party in Brussels

The Hungarian politician and MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned after he was caught at a sex party with 25 attendees in Brussels on Friday night, violating Belgium’s coronavirus measures.

On Tuesday, Szajer issued a statement in which he admits that he was present at what he calls “a private party” on Friday. “I am sorry that I have broken the rules of gatherings,” he said. “This was irresponsible on my part, and I will take the sanctions that come with it.” Read more.

In the meantime, the Brussels public prosecutor's office communicated that two more people who were present invoked diplomatic immunity. Read more about that here.

4. Pedestrian-friendly Schuman roundabout redesign gains approval

The City of Brussels has approved a project proposed by the Region to redevelop the Schuman roundabout as a pedestrian square in the European quarter, following a public enquiry.

The consultation commission of the City of Brussels gave the green light to the plans, which are intended to transform Schuman Square from a roundabout for car traffic into a meeting place over the coming years. Read More.

5. Brussels extends 10 PM curfew until at least mid-December

Brussels’ Security Council today decided that the coronavirus measures currently in force, including the curfew, in the Brussels-Capital Region will continue to apply until 13 December.

“An adjustment of the curfew was discussed,” a press release by Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort’s cabinet stated. At this stage, however, it is “premature” to decide on any adaptation or lifting of these measures. Read more.

6. Coronavirus: patients in hospital drop below 4,000 again

All major coronavirus indicators in Belgium continue to decrease, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Wednesday.

Between 23 and 28 November, an average of 2,304.7 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 29% decrease compared to the week before. Read More.

7. First successful transplant using lungs of ex-Covid patient

Surgeons at the Leuven university hospital have performed the world’s first successful lung transplant from a patient who had recovered from Covid-19.

The surgery involved taking both lungs from a 72-year-old woman who had been treated for a cerebral haemorrhage, and had been registered as a donor.

The woman had never smoked, but in April this year she had suffered from Covid-19 symptoms for a period of about two weeks. Read More.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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