It’s official – lockdown measures will start to lift from Monday (4 May).
In a statement, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès confirmed that the country will begin the first phase of exiting the lockdown after the weekend.
In practice, this means that the companies will be allowed to open their doors on 4 May. Public transport will also resume their usual services, but the use of face masks is mandatory. During all phases of the lockdown, people are recommended to use their own means of transport, in order to make room on public transport for the people who need it most.
660 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Thursday.
This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 48,519. 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.
408 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 176 live in Wallonia, and 72 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 4 other people. Read more.
People travelling by rail in Belgium will be able to purchase fabric face masks and hydro-alcoholic gel in 80 stations across the country, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday.
Snack vending machines will be emptied in favour of the masks and gels. Belgium’s National Railway Company (SNCB) announced the measure at a meeting between management and the company’s trade unions on Tuesday.Read more.
Intensive care doctors are afraid of what will happen on 4 May, when the first phase of the exit plan out of Belgium’s lockdown will start.
“If we do not abide by the basic rules, we can get in trouble again very quickly,” said Geert Meyfroidt, professor and intensivist at the university hospital of Leuven, in “Vandaag” (video) on Wednesday, saying that the new coronavirus (Covid-19) could flare up again. Read more.
The number of new daily cases in Belgium has dropped under 1,000 but several hundreds of people continue to be infected every day.
To start easing the lockdown restrictions from next week, more testing and effective contact tracing is necessary. Belgium is, however, lagging behind with reaching its testing goal and the planned manual contacting system will likely not be in place in time. Read more.
A night train from Brussels to Sweden could be in store in the future, according to a new study by the Swedish traffic agency.
Spurred on by interest from the Swedish government in providing more night trains to Europe, one project in consideration could link Malmö and Brussels from 2023.
The government commissioned a study last year to see whether more night trains from the country are possible, which has proposed a route between Malmö and Brussels, via Cologne, where the initially proposed route was meant to stop. Read more.