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Belgium in Brief: Grabbing a Beer Could Get Complicated

Credit: Belga

Belgium is making preparations to expand the use of the Covid pass to more situations in Brussels.

While the authorities are not in favour of using the Covid pass where it is not necessary, things are different in areas where the vaccination rate is not as high, according to Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden.

“We have that tool now, but we have to use it in a measured way,” she said. “So we have to prepare.”

Several times now, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort has also spoken out in favour of requiring the Covid Safe Ticket in more situations, similar to how it is in France.

For those who are vaccinated, this would mean that they simply show the QR code proving their vaccinations when they want to enter a bar or restaurant.

Non-vaccinated people, however, would have to get tested regularly, as a negative result is only valid for one (self-test) or two days (PCR test).

Both experts and politicians are hoping that requiring non-vaccinated people to get tested every time they want to go for a drink, go out to eat or visit a museum will lead to a surge in vaccination appointments like it did in France.

While the French population was hesitant to get vaccinated, the announcement that the ‘pass sanitaire’ (health pass) would be mandatory to enter bars, restaurants and museums immediately resulted in almost a million new vaccination appointments being booked in the country.

“Currently, the Covid Safe Ticket is unfortunately the only way to give the people of Brussels more freedom,” said Flemish Minister for Brussels Benjamin Dalle.

“Our capital city should also be able to open up again.”

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know, or @maithechini, as she wrote it today.

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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. Covid hospitalisations and ICU numbers at their highest since mid-June

Some 725 people are currently hospitalised in Belgium after contracting the coronavirus, a 7% increase compared to the previous week. Read more.

2. Belgium prepares general introduction of Covid pass in Brussels

Preparations are underway to expand the requirement for Belgium’s Covid pass (the Covid Safe Ticket) in the Brussels-Capital Region to more situations than only events, according to Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden. Read more.

3. Brussels’ entire STIB network will run for free next Sunday

Like every year, people will be able to use the entire STIB network free of charge on Car-free Sunday, on 19 September, the Brussels public transport company announced. Read more.

4. Belgian journalist unknowingly interviewed Salah Abdeslam right after Paris attacks

The Belgian Francophone broadcaster RTBF found recordings of an interview with terrorist Salah Abdeslam and two of his accomplices, immediately after the terror attacks in Paris in 2015, in its archives. Read more.

5. €1.8 million for ‘risk reduction space’ in Brussels for people to use drugs

Brussels will be spending €1.8 million to open a ‘risk reduction space’ or ‘safe space’ in the city where addicts can take drugs under medical supervision and with access to recovery resources, Mayor Close (PS) announced at a meeting of the city council last night. Read more.

6. 10-kilometre-long waste dump on Liège motorway 1.5 months after floods

More than one and a half months after the floods in Wallonia, there is still a 10 kilometre-long line of waste dumped on an unused motorway in the Liège province. Read more.

7. Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde can leave quarantine

Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have both tested negative for Covid-19 for a second time, and will resume their activities from Tuesday, announced the Palace on Monday. Read more.

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