As we approach Ascension day in Belgium – it’s tomorrow, in case you missed it – we also approach the first holiday in a while where people can actually do what people normally do.
Day trips – to zoos, museums or certain national parks – are allowed, but more general excursions still remain banned. Shopping – providing places are open – will also remain allowed, as long as measures are followed.
In terms of grand trends, or big announcements in the country, that’s it – but the news across the country moves on. Drug trials begin on 50 Covid-19 patients in Belgium, people prove to mostly want to follow rules on public transport and the daily press conference reports infection and death numbers both sit under 100.
With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.
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192 additional people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Wednesday.
This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 55,983. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.
117 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 57 live in Wallonia, and 18 live in Brussels. “The trend of new infections is still decreasing, by about 4% per day over the last 7 days,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. Read more.
While the government’s measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus are still being widely observed, support for the government’s approach to the issue is going down, according to a poll carried out for the VRT and De Standaard.
The poll suggests the population is doing what the government says, but is less than impressed by how they are handling the crisis.
Asked how well the federal government was performing, between taking the necessary measures and communicating the reasons to the public, 58% rated them from very bad through somewhat bad to ‘neither good nor bad’. A mere 5% voted the government ‘very good’, with ‘rather good’ scoring 36%. Read more.
The social partners – employers and unions – have reached an agreement on a pay increase for those working in the service-cheques sector.
The agreement comes into force immediately, after negotiations that went on for more than a year. The main provision is a pay increase of 0.8% on top of an indexation increase of 2%, backdated to the beginning of the year. Read More
Almost one in four of all patients suffering from the coronavirus infection and taken into intensive care (ICU) died in hospital, according to an informal survey carried out by De Standaard.
The newspaper called nine Flemish hospitals, including the hospital of the Free University of Brussels, (VUB), to find out the rate of fatalities among ICU patients. The intention was to compare Belgium’s figures against a report that in China, 97% of ICU patients did not survive, and half of all ICU patients in the United Kingdom.
From the responses – which are admittedly partial – it appears that 23% of ICU patients died, compared to only 11% of those admitted to hospital but not to ICU. Read more.
Only 25 official reports were drawn up for people not wearing a face mask on STIB’s metros, trams and buses or in the stations last week, according to the Brussels public transport company.
The obligation to wear a face mask, or something else covering both nose and mouth, for everyone age 12 and older on public transport is generally well-respected in Brussels, Renaud de Saint Moulin of STIB told the Mobility Commission of the Brussels Parliament. Read More.