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Belgium in Brief: Can Brits Come Back After Christmas? 

Credit: Belga/Wikicommons

To quickly address the question posed in the headline.

Yes, Brits living in Belgium who are travelling home for Christmas can come back.

It’s not a topic of consideration, as far as the relevant bodies in the country are concerned it is fact. Take this news and tell your friends – work is considered an essential reason to travel.

Rightfully people are a little freaked out at Brexit and Europe, things are obviously changing, and this is fiercely confusing. Once the transition period for Brexit ends, the UK will be treated as a third country by the European Union from 2021, meaning that non-essential travel will be banned from 1 January, under the current coronavirus rules.

As work is considered an essential reason to travel, Brits working in Belgium who – against official advice – decided to travel to the UK for the end-of-year festivities, will still be able to return after the new year “without any issues.”

There will be border controls, but their old residence cards will still be valid, according to the cabinet of Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Sammy Mahdi. This all stands regardless of the coronavirus ban on non-essential travel as a result of Brexit.

So, for now, we have an answer. On with 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. Over half of Brussels doesn’t want a Covid-19 vaccine in January

A recent poll by various Belgian media has shown significant regional differences in people’s willingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The people of Brussels are less eager to get the coronavirus vaccine, according to the poll, with a mere 28% of respondents wanting a vaccine as soon as it becomes available, compared to 29% in Wallonia and nearly 50% in Flanders.

The percentage of people totally opposing a vaccine is also higher in Brussels and Wallonia (20%) than in Flanders (10%). Read more.

2. 2020 already Belgium’s deadliest year since WW2

This year will be the deadliest year in Belgium since the Second World War, according to figures by Demography professor Patrick Deboosere (VUB).

In 2020 so far, the excess mortality rate has risen to 14,400 additional deaths, making it clear that this year will be the deadliest post-war year, even if the excess mortality falls in December. On 14 December, Belgium recorded a total of 17,951 deaths due to the coronavirus since the start of the epidemic. Read More.

3. Coronavirus: new daily cases continue to increase in Belgium

The average number of new daily coronavirus infections in Belgium has risen for the second day in a row, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Monday.

Between 4 and 10 December, an average of 2,231.3 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 3% increase compared to the week before. Read more.

4. Lockdown ‘nightclub’ closed down in Brussels warehouse

A lockdown violating event – organised with facilities befitting a small nightclub – was shut down in a warehouse this weekend, as Belgium begins to face up to infections rising once again.

Around 100 people were reportedly present at the event in Laeken, which included a disco, a shisha bar, nitrous oxide and alcohol, and a shuttle service had even been organized to take the participants to the party. Read More.

5. Mobile Vikings bought by Proximus: ‘prices won’t increase’

Proximus has signed a definitive agreement with the DPG Media group to acquire the virtual mobile operator Mobile Vikings, which also includes the Jim Mobile brand, the group announced Monday morning.

The €130 million transaction will give Proximus access to the approximately 335,000 customers under the Mobile Vikings and Jim Mobile brands. The company, however, has issued a pledge that nothing will change for customers or employees. Read more.

6. Porn broadcast onto Leuven wall by hijacked projector

Explicit images looming over a Leuven neighbourhood have caused quite a stir, after a city projector was hijacked and used to broadcast pornography.

Police in Leuven are searching for the perpetrators after explicit images were broadcast onto a building in Leuven last night using a city projector – usually reserved for projecting messages on the wall of the Provincial government headquarters. Read More.

7. Johnson’s hallucinations of sovereignty

Boris Johnson’s visit to Brussels this week accompanied itself with a sense of irony, awkwardness and an underlying premonition that the UK government has sealed its own forlorn fate.

One can only speculate as to the bizarre sense of obstinate tension hanging in the air of the 13th floor of the Berlaymont on Wednesday evening, as Johnson and Commission President von der Leyen tucked into a late-night supper of steamed turbot. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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