Belgium in Brief: The Latest New Coronavirus Rules Updated

Belgium in Brief: The Latest New Coronavirus Rules Updated
Credit: Belga

The latest update to Belgium's coronavirus rules - which will go into force tomorrow - have made it certain that everyone will get to see the people they really wanted to this December.

Providing that person runs a shop. That might not have been the outcome you were expecting from what I (or experts) said, so let's clear that up.

The latest rules see all non-essential shops allowed to reopen from Tuesday 1 December, but everything has to happen “responsibly.” 'Fun-shopping' is gone - if it ever was a thing in the first place? - people have to shop alone and can only stay in a shop for a maximum of 30 minutes. The basic rules have to be respected at all times.

Furthermore, further relaxations of the measures will not be possible before mid-January.

Bars, restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality sector will also remain closed until at least 15 January, as will contact professions, such as hairdressers and beauticians. The current ban on gatherings and the curfew measures, from midnight to 5:00 AM in Flanders and from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM in Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region, remain in force.

For Christmas (24 and 25 December), people living alone are allowed to invite both their close contacts at the same time. For everyone else, nothing changes. Households can invite one extra person.

That's a lot to digest on a Monday morning, so here's the rest of the news you might have missed.

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. Crisis Centre urges Belgians to shop online

Belgium’s Crisis Centre has urged people to do their Christmas shopping online as much as possible, ahead of the reopening of non-essential shops across the country tomorrow.

December is traditionally a busy month in the shopping streets, but that is something that absolutely must be avoided now, according to Crisis Centre spokesperson Yves Stevens. Read More.

2. What are the rules when Belgium’s shops reopen?

With the news that the country successfully “managed to reverse a very dangerous trend” Belgium is now faced with an easing of coronavirus measures, with a significant focus on the retail sector as it enters into a busy season.

The rules, however, have slightly changed - and stayed the same in some cases - best to have a read.

3. Belgium spent €4.3 million on coronavirus drug not recommended by WHO

Belgium has invested heavily in a coronavirus treatment that lacks a recommendation from the World Health Organisation, according to the latest reports from francophone media.

Belgian Health Minister, Frank Vandenbroucke signed a €4.3 million agreement with the pharmaceutical company Gilead for the drug Remdesivir, which has no significant effect on the chances of survival of Covid-19 patients, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Read more.

4. New rules go into force tomorrow

Credit: Belga

Belgium has adapted its current lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus during the end-of-year period, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during a press conference on Friday. Read More.

5. Belgium’s coronavirus figures drop further, 906 patients in intensive care

All coronavirus indicators in Belgium continue to decrease, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Monday.

Between 21 and 26 November, an average of 2,390 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 37% decrease compared to the week before.

The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 576,599. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died as a result of the virus. Read more.

6. Belgian universities can partially reopen for exams

Universities in Belgium can begin welcoming limited groups of students back on campus for certain exams or activities, ministers of education said.

Flemish universities and colleges (hogescholen) will be able to hold on-site exams from Monday, the regional education minister, Ben Weyts, confirmed, adding that the measure applied in priority to practical examinations, for example in the arts. Read more.

7. Coronavirus: Belgian music festivals ready to assist in mass vaccination campaign

Music festivals in Belgium are ready to assist in carrying out the country’s massive coronavirus vaccination campaign, according to a letter sent to the federal health minister.

After a year of hibernation, representatives of the mass music events in Brussels and Wallonia say they are ready to return to action and support the government in their efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic. Read More.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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