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Belgium in Brief: Doomscrolling As Lockdown Looms

What’s worse – being officially told we will go into lockdown again, or the looming threat that we might, backed by experts?

One way or another, both situations leave us in an unstable situation, and it’s not like the building fear of Belgium returning to lockdown is based on a few fringe opinions.

News outlets across Belgium – including The Brussels Times – are currently relying on the one source that’s talking, experts, to help get a handle on what’s coming.

There is “a need for short-term action,” says one. 

“The glass is beginning to overflow,” says another.

This “will not go away by itself,” a third adds. 

Take your pick. As it stands, there is no uniform approach for what would fix the problem, but experts appear to agree that doing nothing is no longer an option.

Officially speaking, however, we’re back in rumour mill territory.

On Monday, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon said the Consultative Committee will impose additional measures, but only if figures get worse than predictions have estimated, which is not the case at the moment. To the experts talking today, we’re already there.

Without the official line, the hastily planned Friday meeting, or the late-running press conference, we have nothing official.

So, while we wonder and doom scroll, I have a question.

Would you rather Belgium just decided to lockdown, even if the measures ended up being stronger than necessary?

Or are you happy waiting in the hope that the situation changes?

Or is there a third option? 

Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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1. ‘Will not go away by itself’: Calls for stricter coronavirus measures mounting

From intensive care unit physicians to virologists and general practitioners, the urgent calls for the government to impose additional coronavirus fighting measures are growing. Read More.

2. Concerns raised over increasingly radicalised teenagers

With six different minors arrested since November 2020 for “intending to commit violent acts,” the interim director of Belgium’s anti-terrorist service raised concerns about increasingly radicalised young people.

“The radicalised are getting younger and younger, and that’s a trend to keep an eye on,” Gert Vercauteren, the interim director of Ocad, told De Standaard. “Very often young people are turning up in our files these days, aged 15, 17 or 18.” Click here to find out more.

3. Bpost launches rapid covid tests for staff

Belgian postal service Bpost has unveiled a pilot project for rapid tests in three sorting centres across the country, allowing workers to take a PCR test and find out the result fifteen minutes later. Read More.

4. Overcrowding in Belgian prisons leaves 148 inmates sleeping on the floor

Photo by Daniel Radford on Unsplash

There are 148 inmates in Belgian prisons who are forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor due to issues with overcrowding.

The information comes from a request made by Annick Lambrecht to Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne, reports De Standaard. Read More.

5. Over 1 in 5 Belgian households is fuel poor

Even with lower gas prices and the good weather providing little reason to turn on the heat, over one in five Belgian households (20.7%) is experiencing fuel poverty.

That number increases to 28.3% for households in Wallonia, and 27.6% for people living in Brussels. In Flanders, the number was lower at 15.1%. Read more.

6. Belgian slaughterhouse sentenced for violating animal welfare standards

A Belgian slaughterhouse and its 76-year-old manager were sentenced by a criminal court to pay a fine totaling €12,000 in a verdict reached years after the trial first began back in 2017. Read More.

7. Temperatures of up to 14 degrees expected in the coming days

Temperatures of up to 14 degrees are expected in the coming days, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI). Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times