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Belgium in Brief: Did Anyone Hear The Noise?

Last night I was sitting in the garden when my peaceful pause was interrupted by a dreadful racket.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH,”

Came the noise from over my hedge. My dog ran to hide, the air was heavy with the scent of pils, and the streets were paved with red shirts.

“OOOOOOOOOOOOOH,” came a noise from a different direction, almost like it was reacting to the same incident only on a delay caused by a broadcast.

The noises persisted but never so loud.

I wonder what it was.

Do you know? Let @johnstonjules know.

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1. Step 2 of Belgium’s summer plan: what has changed?

This weekend, a number of coronavirus measures were relaxed as the second phase of Belgium’s “summer plan” came into force a few days early. The opening hours of bars and restaurants have been extended, whilst social bubbles have been expanded. Read more to find out what has changed.

2. Staying ahead of the virus: AstraZeneca tests modified vaccine against variants 

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has started testing a modified version of its coronavirus vaccine, which should also protect people against “variants of concern.” Read more.

3. Night bus services restart in Brussels

Brussels public transport operator STIB announced on Monday its Noctis night buses, which run on Friday and Saturday evenings between midnight and 3:00 AM, will return from 2 July after over a year of disruption. Read more.

4. New coronavirus test centres opened at two Belgian airport

On Monday, two new coronavirus test centres opened at Antwerp and Ostend-Bruges International Airports to relieve the test centres in the cities from the pressure of travellers this summer, whilst Wallonia announced two new vaccination points located in football stadiums would open their doors in July. Read more.

5. EU implements modified e-commerce rules from Thursday

New VAT rules governing cross-border online commerce will take effect on Thursday 1 July in EU member states which will apply to all components of the supply chain, from online vendors, markets and platforms trading within and outside the EU to postal services, transporters, customs, tax administrations, and consumers. Read more.

6. AstraZeneca delivery raises hope for quicker second dose for vulnerable people

This week, AstraZeneca is expected to deliver around 700,000 doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Belgium, which could open up the possibility of giving a second dose to vulnerable people more quickly. Read more.

7. Flemish socialist party seeks to make online voting possible

The Flemish socialist opposition party Vooruit is looking to set up a pilot project in several regions in Belgium to make online voting possible by 2024, when local, Flemish, federal and European elections will take place. Read more.