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Belgium in Brief: A Question Of Honour

Belgium’s latest Covid measure sounds like it belongs more in an episode of Game of Thrones (earlier seasons only please) rather than a cross-border pandemic fighting situation, but here we are.

The “declaration on honour” – which has now been called a “sworn statement” in the English version – is a form that travellers need to carry from today to explain why they are able to cross the border now all non-essential travel to and from Belgium is banned.

Using the form, a traveller declares that their cross-border trip falls under a category of journeys that are considered essential, something which they will need to prove to the police if they are checked.

If.

“If” really is the keyword there – as reports from people coming back over main borders after break certainly made it seem like border checks were not as common as you would think.

So, have you been stopped crossing the border?
Do you think the form will make people stop what they were doing?

Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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. No profession should get priority for vaccination, employers say

Belgium’s different health ministers are discussing a list of essential professions who will be given priority for a Covid-19 vaccine, but trade unions and employers stated that such a list is not a good idea. Read More

2. Smaller bubbles, 1 hobby: agreement reached on stricter rules for children

Belgium’s different governments have reached an agreement on stricter coronavirus measures for extracurricular activities of children and young people on Tuesday evening.

Extracurricular activities are often responsible for coronavirus infections, contact tracing showed, leading the different governments to agree on stricter measures.

While Belgium’s different regions already agreed on these measures, the federal government still has to give its final go-ahead, reports De Morgen. Read More.

3. Belgium could rethink deconfinement strategy in April or May

Belgium could start rethinking its set thresholds for relaxations in April or May, when most people over 65 years old have been vaccinated, health officials stated on Tuesday.

At this rate, most of Belgium’s at-risk population in residential care centres and hospitals should be protected against Covid-19 around mid-February, according to interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Yves Van Laethem. Read More.

4. ‘Amateur’ workman accused of pillaging Mons church

Two heritage organisations have raised concerns with the Walloon government over a series of dubious repairs carried out without permission in the Saint Waltrude Collegiate Church in Mons.

The church is a protected monument dating back to the 15th century, once the province of local canonesses from rich families of the area. It contains artworks by Pieter Paul Rubens, among others. Read More.

5. UZ Leuven Bomb threat: False alarm, one arrest

One person has been arrested after a bomb threat at UZ Leuven hospital on Wednesday morning.

The threat was reported to Leuven Police just after 9:00 AM, HLN reports. While hospital facilities stayed functional, the reception hall was briefly evacuated. Read more.

6. AstraZeneca denies taking vaccines from EU to sell elsewhere

British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has been challenged in Europe over delays in deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine, is “certainly not taking vaccines from Europeans to sell them elsewhere at a profit,” according to its CEO Pascal Soriot.

“That would make no sense,” Soriot said in an interview with Le Figaro published Tuesday, adding that the laboratory in partnership with Oxford University, has pledged not to make a profit on the sale of vaccines during the pandemic. Read More.

7. STIB suspends works at tram stop after petition against tree felling

Brussels public transport company STIB is temporarily suspending works at the Besme stop in the commune of Koekelberg following a petition against the felling of 26 trees, Koekelberg mayor Ahmed Laaouej announced. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times