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Belgium in Brief: Allowed To Be Hopeful

As Belgium moves into vaccinating those born around 1990, we could all be forgiven for starting to have a little bit of hope.

It’s a nice feeling.

Numbers are dropping, and Friday’s consultative committee will likely focus on easing measures in the country, as well as providing information on the rapidly approaching travel rule changes.

Europeans face the potential of seeing loved ones for the first time in a long time, and even those of us having to look outside of Europe for that chance have… well.. hope.

I know this is all a little light and fluffy, but it’s nice to feel like this. The sun is out, you might even have an invite for a vaccine, and two Belgian bars are in a guide of the best rooftops in Europe.

Three months ago, you couldn’t even go to a bar. I’m taking this as a win.

So what’s making you hopeful? Let @johnstonjules know.

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1. All coronavirus indicators continue to drop rapidly

All major coronavirus indicators, including average deaths, new cases, and hospitalisations, are continuing to drop in Belgium, whilst vaccination coverage is increasing, according to the latest figures from the Sciensano Public Health Institute published on Tuesday morning. Read more.

2. Brussels rooftop bar named one of the best in Europe

Credit: Big 7 Travel/ Play Label

“There’s only one thing to do when the heat and humidity hits – find the nearest rooftop bar and cool down with a cocktail or two,” Big 7 Travel explained alongside the results. Read more.

3. ‘Historic mistake’: don’t scrap requirement to turn up to vote, experts warn

On Tuesday, a group of 20 Flemish political scientists warned again that abolishing the obligation to turn up to vote for local elections will weaken democracy, just ahead of the official vote in the Flemish parliament. Read more.

4. 175 years of Brussels-Paris by train: from 21 hours to just 1 hour 22 minutes

175 years ago, the first train between Paris and Brussels was operated, connecting the French and Belgian capital cities through a railway journey that took 21 hours in 1846. Read more.

5. No more fur farms: last active ones in Flanders agree to close

By doing so, they receive a better financial compensation package than if they wait for the mandatory closure that will come as a result of a 2018 ban on fur farms and force-feeding, according to De Standaard. Read more.

6. Temperatures to hit 33 °C this week

Belgium’s sunny weather will continue into this week, with temperatures expected to hit 30 °C before storms roll in towards the weekend. Read more.

7. Mechelen wants answers regarding potential pollution from a local factory

The Chemours Belgium plant in Mechelen, which was a DuPont de Nemours plant until 2015, appears in a report about perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and the City Council wants an explanation. Read more.