Belgium in Brief: The L-Word

Belgium in Brief: The L-Word
Credit: Belga/The Brussels Times

As the Belgian rate of infection continues its sharp increase, experts, parts of the population, and politicians are starting to worry about the possibility of a new lockdown.

At the press conference after the previous Consultative Committee, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stressed that the measures announced were taken to “avoid another lockdown.”

Just a week later, however, experts are questioning whether the current rules are enough.

“Until a few weeks ago, I would have said a new lockdown was impossible because of the high vaccination rate and the proactivity of the government,” virologist Marc Van Ranst told De Morgen.

“But now, I am afraid it might be possible. That proactivity turned out to be less than I thought,” he added. “I never thought that we would end up in a kind of second-wave scenario again, where we give warning after warning but measures are only taken when the house is already half on fire.”

Virologist Steven Van Gucht stressed that it is still too early to start seeing the effect of the measures that only took effect last weekend but said that he hoped “that people will spontaneously reduce their contacts.”

He “does not like to use the word ‘lockdown’ so quickly,” and emphasised that temporarily putting some risk activities on hold is an option as well.

“We now have an extra line of defence with the vaccine, but at the same time we have never had so much virus as now, certainly in Flanders,” Van Gucht said. “We really need to put the brakes on this, so we do not need to take drastic measures.”

What do you think? Are you afraid of a new lockdown? Do you think Belgium needs one?

Let @johnstonjules know (or @maajtee, since 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. 70% of Brussels adults now fully vaccinated against Covid-19

About a month later than initially hoped for, the Brussels-Capital Region has reached the symbolic threshold of 70% of adults who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Read more.

2. Covid infections in Belgium are ‘not slowing down,’ warns Van Gucht

As infection rates are not showing any signs of slowing down yet, reducing close contacts in our private lives must be a priority, says virologist Steven Van Gucht. Read more.

3. Brussels roads will be taken over by tractors in December

Thousands of tractors led by farmers from various European Union Member States will be heading to Brussels in December to protest against new EU measures. Read more.

4. Half of French-speaking Belgians can’t afford necessary healthcare

An increasing number of people in Belgium are postponing healthcare this year, with almost half of French-speaking Belgians doing without at least one healthcare service for financial reasons. Read more.

5. Brussels pledges to become zero-waste city

The Brussels-Capital Region has become the first Belgian city to commit to becoming a zero-waste region, promising among others to reduce waste by 20% per capita by 2030. Read more.

6. Christmas tree travels on night train from Vienna to Brussels

A Christmas tree measuring over four metres which will decorate the Brussels seat of the European Parliament in December was transported on the night train from Vienna to Brussels last night. Read more.

7. East Flanders bans parties and celebrations for four weeks

All parties and other celebrations that are not professionally organised will be banned for the next four weeks in the province of East Flanders, announced provincial governor Carina Van Cauter on Tuesday. Here’s more.

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