Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: ‘Four Weeks Of Hell’

It’s difficult to write a newsletter roundup when you don’t know if the news will have changed by the time you go to publish.

Today’s meeting of Belgium’s Consultative Committee started at 9:00 AM this morning, and by the time I finally got around to writing this intro, we have nothing but speculation, predictions, and hope.

According to recent research, the best outcome from a psychological perspective might be to properly lock down Belgium, at least for a bit.

“A hard but short lockdown is the best option from an epidemiological perspective, but also from a psychological perspective it is the only chance to still motivate the population,” Professor Inez Germeys, a member of the “Psychology and Corona” working group, which advises the government, explained today.

Yesterday’s BIB question asked readers if they thought locking down now was a good idea, and the response was mixed.

Locking down now gained some support as a quick solution to a mounting problem, but critics wondered if it would be effective as long as vaccination strategy continued to stutter. Have your say here.

As for a new question, I’d like to point you to a quote by a Belgian economist circulating this morning: “Four weeks of hell better than four seasons of purgatory”

Would you rather we continued in this limited freedom for a few months, or hope that four weeks of nothing could make things better, faster?

Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter launching later this month containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

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. Consultative Committee will announce latest measures from 1:20 PM

The Consultative Committee will announce the latest changes to Belgium’s coronavirus fighting measures during a press conference from 1:20 PM, according to the cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Read more.

2. Contact professions will close again from Saturday: reports

Credit: PxHere

Belgium’s Consultative Committee has reportedly decided to shut down contact professions again from Saturday.

Non-medical contact professions, such as hairdressers and beauticians, will have to close again, according to reports in several media. This rule would contradict statements by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in January, when he had said that once hairdressers were allowed to reopen, they would stay open. Read more

3. Stricter rules today will already improve Belgium’s figures ‘in a week,’ says expert

If the Consultative Committee decides to implement strict coronavirus fighting measures today, they will already have a positive effect on Belgium’s figures in a week, according to biostatistician Geert Molenberghs. Read More.

4. Antwerp cafe owner sentenced for human trafficking and running a brothel

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

The 75-year-old manager of the notorious Antwerp café ‘t Keteltje has been sentenced to four years in prison for human trafficking and running a brothel.

The sentence also comes with a partially deferred fine of €32,000, according to reporting by De Standaard. Read More.

5. More STIB employees suspended as fraud investigation continues

More STIB employees have been suspended as part of the ongoing investigation into fraud at the Brussels public transport company.

11 employees have already been terminated and an external audit was launched after an anonymous former employee told the French-language paper La Capitale about rampant abuse of the clocking-in system. Read more.

6. Belgium to receive first 76,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines from mid-April

Belgium’s first 76,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine will be delivered from mid-April, vaccination task force spokesperson Gudrun Briat said on Wednesday. Read More.

7. Phishing in 2020 cost Belgians €34 million, says regulator

The victims of financial fraud by phishing lost a total of €34 million last year, according to figures issued by the financial industry regulator Febelfin. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Masks reintroduced indoors, teleworking encouraged
Masks will again be mandatory inside shops and other indoor public spaces, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced in a press conference on ...
Belgium intends to activate the pandemic law, says Health Minister
"We intend to activate the pandemic law," Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke confirmed on Tuesday in the House committee, ahead of Tuesday's ...
Offers for fake Covid Safe Tickets circulating on social media
As the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in many places across Belgium, offers for forgeries are increasingly circulating on social media. ...
EU auditors: More worried about the future budget than about pervasive errors in the 2020 budget
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) have signed off the 2020 EU accounts as giving a true and fair view of the union’s financial position but like ...
Belgium aims to tackle sexual violence with video interrogations
The federal government is looking to tackle sexual violence and increase convictions connected to this crime by relying more heavily on video ...
Duvel celebrates 150th anniversary with special brew in commemorative bottle
Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the release of a special brew in a commemorative bottle shaped like its ...
Pollution scandal: 3M to show emissions don’t pose risk or halt production
Flanders has ordered American company 3M, involved in a pollution scandal in Antwerp, to prove that emissions linked to its production activities do ...
The Netherlands fears a greater rise in sea levels than forecast
Sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 on the Dutch coastline – far more than previously forecast – according to an announcement from the ...
The Smurfs return to Belgian TV with the first new show since 1989
A new Smurfs show is bringing the characters of Belgium's second-most-famous comic franchise back to the small screen with their first new series, 30 ...
On this day in Brussels: An entrepreneurial journey begins
The Rue Dansaert was just beginning to become trendy when Alain Coumont opened his first bakery here on 26 October 1990. He started by baking big ...
Almost half of Belgian subsidies from EU left unused
Belgium left almost half (49%) of its subsidies allocated by the European Union between 2013 and 2020 unused, the equivalent of around €1.375 ...
Visitors to embark on Orient Express adventure at Brussels exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express – the train that was the scene for many novels, including Agatha Christie's – allows visitors to ...