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Belgium in Brief: A Bird? A Plane? A Drone

Credit: Pixnio/Belga

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a police drone?

Oh. It’s a police drone, coming to check if you’re following the rules.

Belgium – along with many other countries – may still be struggling with the enforcement of rules, but a recent decision to use drones to do so has been causing concern.

“Flying over people’s gardens without any indication is going too far,” said Tim Vandeput of Open Vld.

“Strict rules are necessary to combat the spread of the virus and protect our health, but these controls must remain proportional and respect fundamental principles such as the right to privacy and the inviolability of the home,” he added.

As it stands drones will be flown over several Flemish municipalities during the end-of-year celebrations, as police strive to ensure coronavirus regulations are followed.

The police zone of Carma, eastern Flanders, will deploy the drones to facilitate enforcement of the coronavirus ban on setting off fireworks.

A megaphone-equipped drone will be among the fleet deployed by police, and will be used to transmit warnings to those found or suspected to be breaking the rules.

Now, 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 needs ‘short strict lockdown’ now, expert warns

A short strict lockdown is what Belgium needs right now to get the country’s stagnating coronavirus figures down again, according to Dirk Devroey, professor and dean of the health faculty at VUB.

A strict lockdown for a short period of time, as was announced in Germany, is urgently needed, according to Devroey.

“Many people were no longer following the prevention measures to the fullest, causing the number of infections – that is still far too high – to barely decrease for several days now,” he said. Read more.

2. Leaving Belgium for Christmas: what are the rules

Many expats in Brussels and Belgium want to leave their adopted home for the end-of-year festivities now that Christmas is approaching, despite strong advice against it from the authorities.

As other governments also imposed their own rules and restrictions on foreign travellers to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further, this is a non-exhaustive list of what travellers from Belgium have to do to enter other countries in the EU. Read More.

3. UK travel to EU banned from 1 January under Covid-Brexit rules

Non-essential travel from the United Kingdom to the European Union will no longer be allowed as of 1 January due to the coronavirus restrictions set in place as a result of Brexit.

While travel had been allowed – within reason – until the end of the Brexit transition period, that will no longer be the case from next year due to the UK no longer falling under rules allowing it. Read more.

4. Dutch doctors warn of rise in avocado-related injuries

Dutch Plastic surgeons have warned of a rise in the prevalence of avocado related injuries, so much so that they’ve coined a term for it – ‘avocado hand’.

The increasingly commonplace injury – which occurs as a result of the incorrect stoning of avocados – is now in fact big enough to merit a warning on the Dutch Society for Plastic Surgery (NVPC) website.

‘The popularity of the fruit is leading to a growing number of patients with so-called “avocado lesions’, a cut at the base of a finger with nerve damage.” Read More.

5. Brussels and Wallonia extend 10 PM curfew until 15 January

The Brussels Capital Region and Wallonia will extend their 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus until 15 January, the regions’ governments announced on Thursday.

Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort decided to extend the curfew measures until mid-January as the epidemiological situation in the Region is still precarious, a press release states. Read more.

6. Over 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Belgium

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Belgium has risen above 600,000, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Friday.

Between 1 and 7 December, an average of 2,165.3 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 2% decrease compared to the week before. Read More.

7. ‘Hardest-hit’ temporarily unemployed workers get €10 daily premium

Workers who have been on temporary unemployment for longer than two months due to coronavirus will get an additional premium of €10 per day, Federal Economy and Work Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne announced on Friday.

Dermagne called the additional €10 per day a protective premium for “the hardest-hit temporarily unemployed workers.” Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times