Belgium in Brief: Doing Better Than Our Neighbours
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
The rate at which the coronavirus spreads is now lower in Belgium than in its neighbouring countries, health officials stated during a press conference on Wednesday.
Belgium’s infection rate – or reproduction number (R-number) – has dropped below that of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg, said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
The Belgian figure currently stands at 0.78. As it remains below 1.0, it means that one person infected with coronavirus infects less than one other person, on average.
According to the countries’ latest official figures, the Netherlands currently reports an infection rate of 1.02, Germany reports a rate of 0.9, France reports 0.89, and Luxembourg has a reproduction rate of 1.
“We are doing well, but we are still a long way from the safe harbour,” Van Gucht said. “What we are doing now, is paying off. It is important to keep that up.”
On Friday, Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet to discuss the current measures, and decide on how exactly the country will manage to keep the figures low.
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Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet on Friday to evaluate the lockdown measures currently in force and discuss how to celebrate Christmas while still keeping the coronavirus in mind.
When Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that Belgium would go back into lockdown from until 13 December, he also stated that the shutdown of non-essential shops would be evaluated by 1 December.
While the situation is still too worrying to relax the current measures according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, all the trade federations are begging to be allowed to reopen. Read More.
Belgium’s different federations for retail, entrepreneurs and traders are demanding that the Consultative Committee looks at options to make shopping by appointment possible in December.
Even though the current lockdown measures are set to remain in force until 13 December, the trade federations are hoping for a cautious relaxation of the rules for shops from this week’s Consultative Committee, as non-essential shops have had to keep their doors closed for almost four weeks now. Read More.
Belgian prosecutors requested a suspended prison sentence for a police officer who fired at a moving van, killing a toddler, as they affirmed that he was aware that children were on board.
The sentence request concludes the second day of a high-profile trial over the death in 2018 of 2-year-old Mawda, an Iraqi-Kurdish child whose tragic death by a stray bullet has drawn international media attention and calls for justice from celebrities ranging from director Ken Loach to Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.
Prosecutors said that the actions of the officer, identified as Victor J., were reckless and disproportionate to the situation but that the evidence did not support the theory that there was an intention to kill. Read More.
Neither Brussels Airlines nor its parent company Lufthansa intend to ask passengers for proof of vaccination to enable them to board their planes, both companies said.
Brussels Airlines had, however, carried out a first test flight last Friday during which all passengers had to pass a rapid Covid-19 detection test in advance. Only those with negative results were allowed to board. Read more.