Belgium in Brief: Is Inconsistent Consistency Still Consistency?

Belgium in Brief: Is Inconsistent Consistency Still Consistency?

If there is one thing we can seemingly rely on in these days of toilet debates and mandatory social distanced garden gatherings, it’s a consistently inconsistent approach towards vaccination.

But it doesn’t mean people won’t get annoyed.

Maybe you saw it this morning, maybe you didn’t, but the Heysel vaccination centre is back in the news after it vaccinated a non-priority patient who happened to be with a priority one.

People are up in arms, but ultimately this seems to be the result of a judgement call at the local level. Someone made the call to vaccinate a 49-year-old man on the spot, and people are angry.

This prompted people to wonder if they could get the same treatment, but to the surprise of no one, that’s not the case.

In fact, according to Sabine Stordeur, co-head of the Vaccination Taskforce, this is not an approach recommended by the taskforce at all, and is likely going to cause problems.

“Now, any elderly person is going to be accompanied by a younger person, thinking that they could potentially be vaccinated,” she said. “This is not at all the intention.”

See. That’s consistent.

Kind of.

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1. Flemish coastal bars could reopen with no customers allowed

Bars and restaurants in the Flemish coastal municipality of Middelkerke will soon be allowed to reopen their terraces, but people won’t be allowed to use them in light of the current measures.

Ahead of the Easter break – when people are expected to flock to the coast as they cannot leave the country – mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker has said he will allow the cafés and restaurants in his commune to set up their terraces as of this week, and that he would also authorise the reinstallation of the beach bars. Read More.

2. European Commission ‘surprised’ by extension of Belgium’s travel ban

The European Commission was “rather surprised” to learn that Belgium decided to extend its ban on non-essential travel by two more weeks, until after the Easter holidays, despite the EU’s criticism.

The Commission is currently examining “all options on the table” to follow up on the case, as it maintains that Belgium is violating the principle of proportionality with the ban, reports the Belga press agency. Read more.

3. ‘Discrimination’: Beauticians want to restart at home services too

The Flemish professional association for bio-aesthetics and cosmetology Besko has called for an immediate restart of the activities of home beauty professionals.

“Mobile hairdressers are allowed to restart but not beauticians, it’s discrimination,” said Sofie Leyten, a member of the organisation. Read More.

4. Killers in homophobic hate crime were all teenagers

The three people thought to be responsible for the brutal murder of a gay man in Belgium over the weekend are all teenage boys.

Each of the boys, two of whom are 17 years old and one of whom is 16, turned themselves into police on Sunday, the day after the murder, according to De Standaard. Read More.

5. Curfews and travel ban violate fundamental rights, warns Belgian law professor

The curfew and the non-essential travel ban imposed by the Belgian government are resulting in the systematic ignoring of constitutional freedoms that are meant to protect citizens, according to a constitutional law professor.

Pressure has further mounted against the government regarding both coronavirus fighting measures, both from the country’s politicians and the European Commission, after both the curfew and travel ban were extended during Friday’s Consultative Committee. Read more.

6. Police crack down on drug trafficking in major operation two years in the making

More than 1,500 police officers have been conducting house searches in more than 200 places since 5:00 AM this morning in one of Belgium’s biggest crackdowns on drug trafficking to date.

The operation is said to have been two years in the making, and while police aren’t expected to give any official details until Wednesday, there have been “many arrests.” Read More.

7. Belgian rooster in court battle for 5:00 AM crowing

A Belgian rooster whose early morning crowing is causing neighbourhood tensions will be the subject of a court battle in the Walloon town of Quaregnon.

The case concerns the persistent 5:00 AM crowing of the bird, which one neighbour says has plunged him into a state of great fatigue due to his already ill health, according to reports in the local press. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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