Belgium in Brief: We Should Never Have Ended Up In This Situation
Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Belgium’s new testing strategy – which goes into effect today – has drawn criticism for a multitude of reasons.
It will impact infection numbers meaning they will have to be interpreted differently, it will rely on trusting people to gauge how they feel, it takes away the comfort of having a test for those who have been exposed.
But, to one prominent virologist, one of the main problems is that we never should have ended up in this situation in the first place.
“We should never, ever have ended up in this situation where we have 10,000 to 12,000 new cases a day. That is the problem. We could have avoided this,” said Marc Van Ranst on Tuesday evening. “The fact that we now, unfortunately, have to switch back is only because we now have so many cases.” More here.
So as numbers continue to rise, rules go into effect, and the country flip-flops rule interpretation… here’s the news.
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Public transport is not causing the coronavirus to spread through the Brussels-Capital Region, according to a study referred to by the cabinet of Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt.
Passengers on buses, metros, trams and trains are safe, as long as the vehicles are properly cleaned and ventilated, and there is an obligation to wear a face mask, according to a study by the International Association for Public Transport (UITP). Read more.
People who do not show any symptoms of Covid-19 will no longer be tested for the virus, and will instead have to quarantine for 10 days, after a potential infection.
Being tested upon return from a red travel zone or after being in contact with someone who had tested positive, used to be mandatory for all travellers. Now, people can only get tested when they are showing symptoms. Read more.
An average of almost 9,000 people tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) per day over the past week in Belgium, as hospitalisations and deaths continue to rise, according to Sciensano’s latest figures on Wednesday.
Between 11 and 17 October, an average of 8,975.4 new people tested positive per day, which is an increase of 68% compared to the week before. Read more.
Belgian restaurants that offer takeaway food during the weeks of compulsory closure will not be allowed to sell alcohol to take away, according to the ministerial decree on anti-Covid measures published in the Moniteur Belge on Sunday. Read more.