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Belgium in Brief: Safely Restarting Air Travel

Credit: Belga/Brussels Airlines/Twitter

As the aviation sector is looking for ways to get people travelling again, it has now proposed a digital “Travel Pass,” which will allow travellers to quickly prove that they have been vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test.

After previously arguing in favour of ending quarantines and rapid tests before getting on a plane, the Covid-19 travel pass is being launched by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in hopes of restarting international travel soon.

“Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President in a press release.

“In the immediate term, that means giving governments confidence that systematic Covid-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine programme.”

The goal is to enable authorities, laboratories, airlines and passengers to provide information which will then be linked into that app. IATA plans to use software that it has already been developed to see whether passengers have the right visas.

In the meantime, Belgium’s Consultative Committee will discuss the reopening of shops, bars and restaurants on Friday, KU Leuven researchers have managed to hack a Tesla, and the trial over the death of Kurdish toddler Mawda has started.

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. Reopening Belgium’s businesses must be ‘seriously’ considered on Friday

The reopening of businesses and the hospitality industry in Belgium must be seriously considered on Friday, according to the Minister of the Self-Employed, David Clarinval.

“In view of the next Consultative Committee on 27 November, I will plead for the reopening of shops and the hospitality sector to be seriously considered,” he told the House Economics Committee. “If a pure and simple reopening cannot be envisaged in the short term, I will propose relaxing the current measures.” Read More.

2. Aviation industry launches Covid-19 ‘travel pass’ to restart international flights

The aviation industry is launching its own “Travel Pass” app which will allow travellers to quickly prove that they have been vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test before getting on a plane.

In this way, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is hoping to relaunch international travel soon, as the app should be available early next year. Read More.

3. Coronavirus: Belgium’s positivity rate drops to 14.2%

The number of daily new coronavirus infections continues to drop while more than 5,000 people remain in hospital, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Tuesday.

Between 14 and 20 November, an average of 3,297.9 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 33% decrease compared to the week before. Read more.

4. ‘Start buying certain products now’: Belgian supermarkets fear end-of-year rush

Belgium’s supermarket sector is expecting a bigger than usual rush during the end-of-year period this year, with some chains calling on customers to already start buying products with a long shelf-life now.

Belgian customers are urged not to wait until the last moment to buy products that have a long shelf-life and can already be bought earlier, with Delhaize Belgium adapting its promotional campaigns to encourage customers to spread out their purchases.

“It is better to start buying pasta, sauces, alcohol and other products that do not go off now,” said Roel Dekelver, spokesperson for Delhaize Belgium. Read More.

5. Belgian police tried over Kurdish toddler’s death amid widespread calls for justice

The trial of a Belgian police officer over the 2018 death of a Kurdish toddler began on Monday, kicking off two days of international scrutiny of Belgium’s response to a surge of immigration.

The officer, who has so far remained unidentified, is on trial after having opened fire on a van carrying 26 people, including 2-year-old Mawda and her parents, who were attempting to reach the UK. Read More.

6. Justice minister announces zero tolerance for violence against police

A circular establishing zero tolerance and a fast-track procedure for violence committed against the police has been prepared in consultation with the public prosecutors and is ready, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told Radio 1 on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, acts of violence against law enforcement agencies have been in the news and have given rise to much political commentary. Read more.

7. Belgian researchers hack a Tesla Model X in minutes

Belgian researchers at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) managed to hack the key of the Tesla Model X, allowing them to open the vehicle and drive off with it.

The Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC), an Imec research group at the university found a security issue in the keyless entry system of the Tesla Model X, showing that the battery-powered car – priced at over $100,000 – can be stolen in a few minutes. Read more.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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