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Belgium in Brief: Did We Miss The Peak?

Credit: Belga

The situation in Belgium is far from great, to say the very least, but according to some experts, it certainly could have been worse if we didn’t take the measures currently in place.

“Through our joint efforts, we have probably been able to avoid a worst-case scenario for our hospitals,” said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

For the first time since September, the number of patients in intensive care is going down again, although the decrease is very small, with only four patients fewer than yesterday.

This brings the number of ICU patients at 1,470, and the number is unlikely to go up again, according to him.

In total, 7,058 coronavirus patients are currently admitted to hospital, which is 163 fewer than yesterday, meaning that the hoped-for decline in the number of hospital admissions also continues. “However, the situation still remains very difficult,” Van Gucht said.

We know it’s a holiday, you might not even be at your desk, so here’s the news you need to know this Armistice Day.

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. Armistice Day: What’s open in Belgium?

The coronavirus crisis means that Belgium’s regular annual arrangements on Armistice Day have been adjusted to comply with the health measures, ranging from commemorations, to what remains open. So, what is open? Click here.

2. Belgium on Holiday: What is Armistice Day?

Armistice Day on 11 November marks the effective end of World War I and is a day to remember the millions of lives lost to a years-long conflict opposing several European countries to each other.

German and Allied forces officially signed the armistice accord at around 5:00 AM of 11 November, following days of negotiations which had seen the Germans come to the negotiating table after suffering heavy losses during the summer of 1918. Here’s more. 

3. ‘He’s gay’: Belgian MEP’s comment causes controversy online

A comment made by Belgian MEP Johan Van Overtveldt about the sexuality of a journalist during a press conference caused some controversy on social media.

On Tuesday, Van Overtveldt, as Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets, spoke at a press conference of European Parliament negotiators for the next multi-annual EU budget. Read more.

4. How Flanders indirectly funds fake coronavirus news

The Flemish government is facing claims of indirectly supporting fake coronavirus news, after it was linked to a bi-monthly magazine blaming the virus on everything from 5G to the flu vaccine. Confused? Let us explain.

5. Chovanec: Nazi salute graffiti removed from Ghent wall

A work of Graffiti in Ghent showing a pig police officer doing a nazi salute must be taken down, despite being a commentary on the Chovanec case – where a Slovakian man was killed in an arrest at Charleroi airport. Read More

6. Don’t take a trip abroad today, Crisis Centre warns

Belgium’s Crisis Centre has urged people not to go abroad or to the coast today, but to spend their day off on Armistice Day close to home with the virus’ spread in mind.

“Today, 11 November, most people have a day off. A number of people will also enjoy some extra free time in the coming days,” spokesperson Yves Stevens said during a press conference on Wednesday. “If you are still looking for a place to relax with your family, do not look too far.” Read more.

7. Belgian hospital resumes Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine trials

The Centre for Vaccinology of the university hospital in the Belgian city of Ghent (CEVAC) will start vaccinating its test subjects with Johnson & Johnson’s candidate coronavirus vaccine again on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Ghent’s University Hospital (UZ Gent) confirmed that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccinations would be resumed on Thursday, after they had been halted following the appearance of an “unexplained illness” in a test subject who had taken part in a Phase 3 study abroad in October. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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