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Belgium in Brief: 12h ‘Til The Borders Reopen

Credit: Belga

Germany just announced that it won’t be opening borders with the UK until next year, but here in Belgium, they’re going to open in 12h.

To the Brits who live here, that’s a weight off knowing they can come back, but it also raises the question of what is Belgium doing to make this a smart option?

In the face of the rapid spread of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK, Belgium has said it will strictly monitor the use of Passenger Locator Form, both on departure and arrival.

Great, in principle, but it relies on people being honest  – which is a cause for concern for some. As the government mainly relies on people’s honesty, with no real way of checking, according to Jochen Nijs, a doctor at the Sint-Trudo Hospital in Limburg.

From the government side, it hopes it can count on people’s “civic spirit,” and that people take their responsibility, with their fellow citizens in mind.

It’s time for 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 hospitality sector will likely not reopen before March, experts say

Belgium’s bars and restaurants will likely not reopen before March if the infection and hospitalisation figures continue to evolve at this rate, according to prediction models by several experts.

In the best-case scenario, Belgium will not reach the set thresholds – of 800 infections and 75 hospitalisations per day – before relaxations can be considered before February, according to prediction models by biostatistician Geert Molenberghs (UHasselt and KU Leuven) and Niel Hens (UAntwerp), among others. Read more.

2. Travellers not trusted to be honest in Belgium’s self-evaluation form

Belgium’s self-assessment system of determining whether red-zone travellers have to quarantine is being heavily criticised, as many do not trust travellers to answer honestly.

Through a number of questions on the mandatory Passenger Location Form (PLF) that travellers entering Belgium have to complete, the authorities check whether or not the traveller should quarantine for seven days, and undergo a Covid-19 test.

Here’s what the critics have to say.

3. Photos: Charleroi Airport overrun with Christmas travellers

Travellers opting to leave Belgium for the festive period in the face of government recommendations have faced criticism online, after photos of Charleroi Airport packed with passengers surfaced this weekend.

Posted on Twitter, the photos show crowds of people standing close together in the departure hall of the airport, which saw nearly 16,000 passengers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Read More.

4. No white Christmas, but could Belgium see snow on New Year’s?

It has been ten years since Belgium had a white Christmas, and we should not expect one this year either, according to weather reporter Frank Deboosere.

With temperatures of 12 to 13 degrees Celsius, the last few days have been very mild for December, and it will remain so until Wednesday. Read More.

5. Belgium extends entry ban for UK travellers

Belgium has extended the ban on all passenger transport with the United Kingdom for another 24 hours, the country’s core cabinet decided on Monday.

Freight traffic will continue to be permitted, and Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden published the Ministerial Decree about the extension later on Monday, reports VRT. Read more.

6. First Brussels nursing home will get Covid-19 vaccinations on Monday

A Brussels nursing home will be among the first four where Covid-19 vaccines will be administered from Monday, Belga News Agency reports based on a reliable source.

Besides the nursing home in Brussels, three more will receive the first vaccines on Monday – one in Flanders, one in Wallonia, and one in the German-speaking community – though the exact locations are yet to be confirmed. Read more.

7. 2-AAA-001: first Belgian licence plate starting with ‘2’ pressed

The first Belgian car licence plate starting with index number ‘2’ was pressed in a Brussels factory on Monday.

Approximately 11 million licence plates beginning with the number ‘1’ have been pressed since the European licence plate was launched on 15 November 2010.  Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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