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Belgium in Brief: Flanders Falls Behind

Belgium’s Flemish region has been facing criticism from national experts, following the decision not to implement stronger coronavirus fighting measures this weekend.

Yesterday Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon announced his government’s decision not to take any measures additional to those decided by the federal consultative committee last week. Jambon expressed the Flemish government’s preference for waiting to see the impact of the measures already in place, before deciding whether to go further.

This decision was directly at odds with the rest of the country, with both Brussels and Wallonia announcing new measures – including a strict extension of the curfew for both regions. Experts were not happy.

The criticism, however, didn’t stop there. Higher averages may be being seen in the rest of the country, but according to Virologist Steven Van Gucht that’s because Flanders is behind, not exempt.

“There is now a lot of virus circulating, Flanders is (in terms of infections) only ten days behind Wallonia,” he explained on Monday.

So, while we wait for the two-week mark, and ponder the possibility of more measures, here’s the latest news from today and how your regions changed over the weekend.

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. Recap: Brussels’ newest measures

The Brussels regional government has announced a broad range of tough measures aimed at slowing or reversing the rise in cases of Covid-19 in the capital, minister-president Rudi Vervoort announced. Here’s more info.

2. Coronavirus: Flanders criticised for failing to get tough

© Belga

After Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon announced his government’s decision not to take any new measures, the criticism started rolling in. Here it is.

3. Recap: Wallonia’s new curfew

Belgium’s French-speaking Walloon region announced that it will be tightening the national curfew measures in efforts to clamp down on soaring coronavirus infections. Read more.

4. Coronavirus: Belgium approaches an average of 12,500 new daily cases

An average of nearly 12,500 people tested positive for Covid-19 per day over the past week in Belgium, according to the latest figures from the Sciensano public health institute on Monday.

Between 16 and 22 October, an average of 12,491 people tested positive for coronavirus on a daily basis, which is a 44% increase compared to the week before. Read more.

5. ‘Don’t use grandparents to take care of grandchildren,’ expert warns

Following the news of the extension of the Autumn school holiday in Belgium, parents have been warned not to rely on older relatives to provide childcare.

Urging for the need to keep generations as separate as possible, virologist Steven Van Gucht threw his support behind the decision to extend the autumn vacation to include 11 November, but warned it has to be done correctly. Read more.

6. Flanders extends autumn school holidays by 3 days

Flemish schools will extend the approaching autumn holiday until 11 November, following in the footsteps of Francophone schools in Wallonia and Brussels who announced similar measures earlier in the month.  Read more.

7. Belgians urged to keep using Coronalert app

Belgium’s Interfederal Covid-19 Tracing and Testing Committee on Sunday called on the population to download the Coronalert application or keep using it if they already have. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times