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Belgium in Brief: Summer Is Here?

Would you look at that? It’s already summer.

That’s exciting. It’s the start of a more relaxed time for many of us as we start to take vacations, staycations, or at the very least, things start to calm down at work.

Officially speaking, the first day of summer 2021 is today (Monday 21 June), so take a moment and look up from your phone and see the signs that we’re in the warm months. These include:

Sideways rain,
Actual tornado warnings in parts of Belgium,
All of your plants getting too much water,
The lowest temperatures we’ve had in a week,
All of your plants dying,
Apocalyptic conditions,
Rivers running backwards,
Putting on the heating,
Requiring a sweater.

You know, the summer things.

Time to get out your favourite soup, cut back on the ice coffees and move on to something warmer.

Because, finally, summer is here.

How are you experiencing the first day of summer? Let @johnstonjules know.

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 containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

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1. ‘Book your test now’: extra Covid test centres for travellers open in Antwerp

Two extra Covid-19 testing centres, set up by the Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), are opening their doors today, specifically to test travellers wanting to go on holiday.  Read more.

2. Jürgen Conings found dead in Hoge Kempen National Park

The body of fugitive soldier Jürgen Conings has been found in the Dilserbos, some distance from where the mass search by police and troops took place in the Hoge Kempen National Park, police said. Read more.

3. Fewer than 500 new coronavirus cases on average per day

The number of new coronavirus infections on average per day in Belgium has dropped below 500 for the first time since August last year, according to the latest figures from the Sciensano Public Health Institute published on Monday morning. Read more.

4. ‘Belgium is relaxing measures too quickly,’ Vlieghe warns

Credit: Belga

Belgium is relaxing its measures imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus too quickly, according to infectious diseases expert and chairwoman of the GEMS advisory council, Erika Vlieghe. Read more.

5. Number of local coronavirus infections in Cornwall soared in days following G7 summit

Just several days after the end of the G7 summit, which saw politicians, delegations and over 5,000 shipped-in security officers travel to Cornwall, England, the region’s coronavirus infection rates have soared. Read more.

6. Coronavirus: Any third-dose vaccine will need to be variant-proof, Task Force says

It is not clear whether people already vaccinated against the Covid-19 will have to receive a booster shot next year, but what seems certain is that European contracts now under negotiation will require any new vaccines to be adapted to COVID-19 variants, says Dirk Ramaekers, Flemish head of the Vaccination Task Force. Read more.

7. Traffic chaos in Brussels tunnels due to false alarm

There were long traffic jams in Brussels after three tunnels had to close between 7:40 AM and 8:10 AM on Monday morning due to a fire alarm that turned out to be a false one. Read more.