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Belgium in Brief: Are Hairdressers ‘Essential’?

Credit: Belga / Bruxelles Mobilité

Tomorrow, Belgium will decide whether or not hairdressers can reopen, after months of having been closed due to the coronavirus restrictions.

As usual, however, opinions as to what the Consultative Committee should decide are divided.

Many GEMS experts advising the government are not in favour of any relaxations, with biostatistician Geert Molenberghs saying that nothing has changed from the advice they gave two weeks ago.

According to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke going to the hairdresser is “really becoming a major need for the people.”

A possible reopening, however, would be “an isolated issue” and “should not be seen as the beginning of a whole series of relaxations, because that would be very imprudent,” he said.

“At a certain point, going to the hairdresser’s becomes essential for some people in order to feel good about themselves,” Vandenbroucke said.

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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1. What to expect from Belgium’s Consultative Committee tomorrow

Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet again on Friday to evaluate the situation and discuss the possible reopening of the hairdressers and other contact professions.

As announced during the previous Consultative Committee, the authorities will assess if the figures have evolved favourably enough to reopen hairdressers, beauticians and other non-medical contact professions on 13 February. Read More.

2. De Brouckère metro station reopens after €17 million overhaul

After five years of restoration works, the Brussels’ De Brouckère metro station has become fully accessible to the public again.

The renovations of the station connecting the city’s central 1 and 5 lines were completed at the end of December 2020, as part of the large-scale renovation by Bruxelles Mobilité and Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company, STIB. Read More.

3. Van Ranst refuses Belgium’s payment for experts after Twitter clash

Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst refuses to accept the compensation that the GEMS experts will soon receive for their advice to the government, he announced on Twitter.

In recent days, Van Ranst made headlines across the country for getting involved in a fierce discussion about whether or not the experts were getting paid by the government on social media with Georges-Louis Bouchez, the leader of the Francophone liberal MR party. Read more.

4. Obesity to HIV: these risk groups will get priority for Covid-19 vaccines

Belgium has decided which people with an underlying condition will be given priority for a Covid-19 vaccine from March, along with people over 65 years old, Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke announced.

On Wednesday, the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, which is made up of the different health ministers of Belgium’s federal and regional governments, agreed on a fixed list of which conditions qualify. Read More.

5. Research begins on the impact of mixing coronavirus vaccines

A trial by Oxford University is testing the efficacy of mixing vaccines for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) for their first and second doses instead of injecting the same type twice.

Scientists aim to establish what the difference is in the level of immunity for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) during a trial of 820 people, in which some will be given a substitute vaccine during the second appointment. Read More.

6. Stonemanor closes for the weekend amid Brexit shortages

Belgium’s British supermarket Stonemanor has announced that it will have to close both premises this coming weekend due to depleted stock levels caused by import issues.

This temporary measure comes as a result of issues in the supply chain for the stores, which have long served brits in Belgium everything from Irn-Bru and Dandelion and Burdock to frozen goods and toiletries they miss from home. Read More.

7. Prosecution insists cyclist kneed five-year-old girl on purpose

The cyclist who made Belgian headlines at the end of December after a video emerged of him knocking over a five-year-old-girl appeared before the Verviers Criminal Court on Wednesday, saying he did so whilst ‘rebalancing himself’.

The 60-year-old man, who has been accused by the prosecution of deliberately knocking the young girl over in order to pass through on a path in the High Fens (Hautes Fagnes) on December 25, had presented himself to the police after a call for witnesses following the event. Read More.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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