Belgium in Brief: Occupational hazards

Belgium in Brief: Occupational hazards

To anyone with even the most basic understanding of infectious diseases (which by now is pretty much the whole world), it will hardly come as a surprise to hear that infection rates are higher among those who go to work than those who don't. Quite apart from the nature of the job itself, the journey there provides plenty of opportunities to be exposed to the virus.

And even if you do sidestep the infection gauntlet by driving to work, few none of us work in hermetically-sealed boxes impervious to the flow of potentially-contaminated air.

All the same, it's a little disconcerting to see the obvious borne out by official statistics. Put simply, there is twice the number of infections among those who continue leaving home to work. And as Belgium's infection rate continues to soar, the cracks are already showing with many contact professions – be it hospitality or hospitals – struggling with acute staff shortages.

Indeed, even for those who could do their work from home, the authorities have stopped short of mandating full-time teleworking. As pandemic fatigue sets in, the urge to reclaim a work-life balance and separate the workplace from the living space is not entirely unappealing and can even benefit productivity.

Are you avoiding the office? Or maybe you'd prefer to go back?

Let @OrlandoWhitehe6 know.

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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. Occupational hazards: twice as many infections in working population

Over the past two weeks, working people have become infected with the coronavirus almost twice as often as the rest of the population in Belgium, shows a new report from the KU Leuven. Read more.

2. Netherlands set to relax strict lockdown from Saturday

The Netherlands is set to relax its current strict lockdown measures, as the country will reportedly allow non-essential shops to partially open again from Saturday. Read more.

3. Customer outcry as British Store faces forced closure

Keep calm and carry online: next week Stonemanor – The British Store customers face the prospect losing in-store shopping for the second time in a year. Read more.

4. ‘Highest since start of pandemic’: 1 in 5 suffered from depression in December

Last month, about one in five adults in Belgium indicated that they were struggling with depression or anxiety – the highest rates since the beginning of the pandemic according to Sciensano’s most recent health survey. Read more.

5. ‘This looks like a ghost town’: Brussels catering industry sees few customers

While January and February tend to be quieter months for the hospitality sector, an increase in teleworking and a surge in Covid-19 cases have prompted some restaurateurs to dub Brussels “a ghost town.” Read more.

6. King handed out €150,000 to cash-strapped Belgians in 2021

The King of Belgium handed out just shy of €150,000 last year to people approaching the palace directly for help. Read more.

7. Hidden Belgium: A folly dedicated to the patron saint of lost things

Lost your phone? You might get help finding it in the pretty Ardennes village of Crupet, where an enormous folly is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of lost things. Read more.

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