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Belgium in Brief: Let It Snow

Credit: Pexels/Pixabay/Belga

It’s a little early for the Christmas song references, but then again it’s a rather apt one for the moment.

The weather outside is frightful.
The fire is so delightful.
Lockdown has left us with no place to go.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow?

That’s right, as of last night, the first snowfall of this season has fallen in Belgium. Residents of Waimes, near the German border in the easternmost tip of the Liège province, reported white paved roads and rooftops, with many taking to social media to share their delight.

Speaking of Christmas – as we started, so we might as well continue – specific rules around celebrating with family on the 25th have come into effect, including rules on how many people can use your toilet.

More on that below, let’s have a look at the rest of the news.

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. Belgium’s Covid Christmas rules: Only one guest can use the toilet

When inviting some guests to celebrate Christmas in the garden, only one of them is allowed to enter the house to use the toilet, according to Belgium’s Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Inviting people to celebrate in the garden is allowed, if the group is not bigger than four people, and the distance and hygiene rules are respected. Additionally, direct access to the garden is required, she said, adding that guests are not allowed if they have to pass through the house. Read More.

2. Belgium flips to Europe’s 9th lowest coronavirus infection rate

Belgium has officially entered into the ranks of the top 10 European countries with the best handle on coronavirus infections, official figures have shown.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Belgium’s 315 new confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants give it the 9th best infection rate in Europe for data of the past 2 weeks. Read More.

3. Police shut down sex party with 25 attendees in Brussels

Police officers stopped a lockdown sex party with 25 attendees, one of whom a Member of the European Parliament, in the Brussels city centre on Friday evening. Read more.

4. What’s allowed on Christmas then?

While Belgium’s Consultative Committee stressed on Friday that celebrating Christmas and New Year’s is safest when done in your own household bubble, there are still some possibilities for people who want to see others for the holidays.

As bars and restaurants remain closed, and the curfew and ban on gatherings remain in force to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus in the country, meeting up with some people – while still respecting the rules – remains possible. Read More.

5. ‘No signals’ that reopening Belgian shops will not happen safely

All Belgian cities will be able to reopen their non-essential shops according to the coronavirus rules on Tuesday, according to the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG).

“We do not have any signals that it is not going to work somewhere. Municipalities have – as they have throughout the crisis – done everything in their power to make this work,” VVSG spokesperson Nathalie Debast told the Belga press agency. Read more.

6. 900 Covid-19 patients in intensive care as Belgium’s figures continue to drop

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

Between 22 and 27 November, an average of 2,322.7 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 32% decrease compared to the week before. Read More.

7. Flanders will grant premiums to boost solar energy

Flanders plans on granting solar panel premiums of up to €1,500 to boost its solar energy by 40% by 2025.

The region already has more than 500,000 solar panel installations, producing 3,600 megawatts (MW). The Flemish government wants an extra 1,500 MW on top of that through 400,000 additional installations. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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