Wallonia, Brussels, Flanders: Belgium’s Covid-19 state of play
Share article:
Share article:

Wallonia, Brussels, Flanders: Belgium’s Covid-19 state of play

Credit: Belga/Jules Johnston

Faced with rising coronavirus infections, regional and local authorities in Belgium have moved to take their own measures on top of those applied at a countrywide level.

As part of a push to avoid a lockdown, these mounting new measures aim to address localised problems to halt the further spread of the virus – with rules even changing drastically at a border.

So can door to door salesmen work in Wallonia? Where is public drinking allowed? Is the hospitality sector struggling countrywide? Let’s look at the state of play in Belgium today.

Wallonia takes extra measures as figures are doubling

Credit: Belga

The number of new infections in all Walloon provinces has doubled compared the week before, said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht during a press conference on Monday.

Worst-hit are the provinces of Liège, with an average of 623 new cases per day over the past week, and Hainaut, with an average of 586 new ones.

“If we continue with such figures, there will be a general lockdown. At some point there is no other solution,” said the Governor of Walloon Brabant, Gilles Mahieu, on RTL-TVi on Sunday. “We need to take immediate and deliberate measures to prevent the country from collapsing, and people ending up in hospital. We have to change our behaviour.”

On top of the federal measures announced last week – which see bars across the country closing at 11:00 PM – some Walloon provinces decided on Friday to implement additional measures, even though they differ from province to province. They came into force on Saturday 10 October, and will last for one month.

Related News:

 

The provinces of Luxembourg and Walloon Brabant have imposed a curfew, prohibiting residents from being outdoors from 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM. The measure takes effect in the early hours of Wednesday 14 October (the night from Tuesday to Wednesday) and is set to remain in force for at least two weeks.

In the provinces of Hainaut, Liège, Namur and Luxembourg, cafeterias of sports clubs and all sports infrastructure have closed.

In Hainaut, Liège and Luxembourg, door-to-door sales are also banned, and Luxembourg has now also made it mandatory to wear a face mask at all times when outdoors.

The provinces of Liège and Luxembourg have also banned alcohol consumption in public places and on public roads from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

Brussels remains the focal point

Credit: Belga

The Brussels-Capital Region remains the main focal point of the epidemic in Belgium, with an average of 817 new cases per day over the past week, according to health officials.

The region saw 759 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks, which is about double the rate in the whole country – currently at 387.

From 8 October at 7:00 AM, the Capital-Region shut down all bars, cafés (also those serving food) and cafeterias of sports clubs, regardless of whether they serve alcohol or not, as well as party and event halls.

Additionally, drinking alcohol in public has been banned in the entire territory of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Amateur sports events and competitions will be allowed to continue but without a public.

Virus also gains strength in Flanders

Credit: Belga

In Flanders, too, the virus also seems to be gaining strength, according to Van Gucht.

“We are now also seeing a doubling of the figures in Limburg, and there is once again a significant increase in the number of new cases in the city of Antwerp,” he said.

However, only one city in the Flemish Region has so far taken additional measures on top of the federal ones.

In Leuven, restaurants will have to close at 11:00 PM, like bars and cafés. For restaurants, however, the measure is only in force during the week. Additionally, the consumption of alcohol in public will also be banned after 10:00 PM, and changing rooms in sports complexes (except swimming pools) will also remain shut.

In the rest of Flanders, that measures currently in force are a reduced social bubble of 3 close contacts outside of your household, private gatherings with a maximum of 4 other people, bars closing at 11:00 AM and a maximum of 4 people at a table, and a recommendation to work from home if possible.

Additionally, the Flemish Minister for Education, Ben Weyts, wants to keep all school in the region open and avoid sending students back to distance learning, saying that schools are “safest” for pupils. Weyts said schools were doing “an excellent job” in terms of capping the appearance of new infections, “especially when compared to the rest of society.”

Weyts – who is also in charge of Sports in Flanders – also announced that the sports sector throughout Flanders will move to code orange from Wednesday, meaning that indoor sports activities in which a 1.5 metres distance cannot be kept, will be banned for anyone over 12 years old.

Organising competitive basketball matches, for example, is no longer possible, but contactless games, such as singles tennis, can still take place.

Fitness and training activities where 1.5 metres distance can be kept are also still possible. Showers and changing rooms will close, except in swimming pools.

Another lockdown?

Credit: The Brussels Times/Jules Johnston

In the meantime, the possibility of a new lockdown cannot be ruled out, several experts and ministers have said.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) data, Belgium is now the second-worst country in Europe in terms of coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

Furthermore, figures continue to rise, with over 4,000 additional people per day testing positive for the virus over the past week. “The coronavirus figures in Belgium continue to rise alarmingly,” said Van Gucht during a press conference, adding that a record number of over 6,500 cases were recorded on one day on Wednesday.

“Currently, the number of new infections is doubling every eight days. If this trend continues, we will see days with more than 10,000 new infections by the end of this week,” he said.

Update: This story was updated to include the curfew measure in two Walloon provinces announced on Monday evening.

Maïthé Chini and Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Thousands protest against the Covid health pass in France
Demonstrations against the health pass and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus mobilised tens of thousands of protesters ...
Record-breaking 770-metre highline installed in Freÿr, Beglium
A 770-metre long highline was installed at an altitude of 70 metres at the Freÿr Rocks on Saturday, setting a new Belgian record, according to ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Five questions to philosopher Philippe Van Parijs on Leopold II and embarrassment in Brussels’ public space
The worldwide explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, combined with the 60th anniversary of the ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...