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Belgium in Brief: Late Night With Alexander De Croo

That headline was a trap, I’m sorry.

Late night with Alexander De Croo isn’t a pitch for a new TV show, it’s just how today will likely go for everyone even remotely interested in the latest measures coming into force in Belgium. The meeting starts at 2, and nobody seems sure when the press conference will be held to tell us what they decide.

The latest changes dangled in front of us are… minimal… but the whole situation is growing increasingly surreal when a country is collectively going mad over something as basic as a haircut.

Let me explain.

According to some – quick – research, the common consensus is that the first barbering services were performed by Egyptians in 5000 B.C.

People have – seemingly – just been getting a haircut even since then. Not matter where you were, if you wanted to pay someone to tame your locks, you could.

Hipster barbers, fancy salons, basic highstreet hole-in-the-walls and majestic full-service pampering studios have been a thing most of us could ALWAYS go to, but not now.

Now, we have to wait with bated breath, as the €30 clipper we bought 5 years ago and have no idea how to use starts to look more and more appealing.

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Consultative Committee will take measures with ‘extreme caution’ today

Any changes to Belgium’s coronavirus fighting measures that could be made today, will be made with “extreme caution,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced.

Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet digitally from 2:00 PM to assess the country’s coronavirus situation, De Croo’s cabinet confirmed to The Brussels Times. Unlike with previous digital meetings, today’s Committee will be followed by a press conference. Read More.

2. Hair, Hippos & Holidays: Belgium’s consultative committee wishlist

Belgium’s consultative committee will once again meet this afternoon to set the agenda for the next few weeks in terms of coronavirus measures, amid calls from sectors continuing to struggle.

Whatever happens, the consensus seems to be it will be minor, as Belgium continues to fall short of the threshold of 800 infections per day which could mark the start of a more targeted deconfinement. Read More.

3. Doctors ask Belgium to skip vaccination phase for high-risk patients

The Belgian Association of Physicians’ Syndicates (BVAS) is calling on the country’s governments to immediately vaccinate the population by age group, instead of giving priority to people with underlying conditions.

Vaccinating high-risk groups first is “a good idea in theory,” according to the doctors, “but in practice, it will lead to so many problems that it will have more harmful than beneficial consequences.” Read more.

4. ‘Just wanted to catch a train’: not all arrested in Brussels were protesters

The 500 arrests made this weekend during a protest at Brussels Central Station also included unrelated passers-by, who were swept up in the fray and could now face a fine, a police official has confirmed to The Brussels Times.

Jennyfer Brendel might be one of them. Read More.

5. 20% of people in Belgium now have Covid-19 antibodies

About one-fifth of people in Belgium currently have antibodies against the coronavirus, but there are big differences between the different Regions, research shows.

“The number of people in Belgium with antibodies fluctuates around 20%, but there are clearly large differences according to region, and undoubtedly also according to activity and age,” virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht said. Read More.

6. ‘We know where to find you’: Ostend mayor threatened at home

Ostend mayor Bart Tommelein’s wife found a threatening letter in the mailbox of their private home, warning “We know where to find you. Signed, the Gang of Ostend.”

“I don’t shy away from entering into a debate or dialogue with people,” Tommelein told Het Laatste Nieuws. “But leave my family alone.” Read More.

7. Conviction of Iranian diplomat raises concerns for VUB professor

The conviction of an Iranian diplomat for terror offences yesterday has raised concerns for the fate of Ahmadreza Djalali, the Swedish-Iranian academic currently held in Iran.

A court in Antwerp yesterday sentenced Assadollah Assadi, an attaché at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, to 20 years in prison for his role in an attempted bombing of a meeting of Iranian dissidents in Paris in 2018. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times