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Belgium in Brief: This Is A Test

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Test events are a funny thing, and they’re only going to become more prevalent as we try to get out of this crazy thing we call Covid.

5000 people gathered at the Atomium this weekend for a test event in Belgium. Nobody wore a mask.

On the one hand, great, this is progress.

On the other, oh my god, I don’t think I’m ready for this.

Thousands of people gathering at an event, people getting on flights, weddings, parties… we’re going to have to get used to these again.

Are you ready? Because I am, but also I’m not.

I want to get back to life as normal as possible, but I still get a little freaked out when people get too close to me on the train.

It’s irrational, kind of, but also a little rational as we all try to regain social skills that fell away at some point in the last two years.

Have you returned to normal? 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. 

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. Pfizer vaccine still effective for new variants, says BioNTech head

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine does not “yet” need to be adapted to deal with the new variants of the coronavirus in circulation, the head of BioNTech assured a press conference on Monday, advocating instead a third “booster” dose. Read more.

2. Climate change: drastic and immediate action needed to save the planet

 

In a new report released on Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach. Read more.

3. List of food recalls for ethylene oxide grows

Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) has expanded the list of food items being recalled due to excessive levels of ethylene oxide, a chemical usually used in plant protection products. Read more.

4. Coronavirus: More than 450 people hospitalised in Belgium

Between 3 and 9 August, there were almost 44.7 hospital admissions on average per day of patients suffering from Covid-19, an increase of 17% compared to the previous reference period, according to the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Tuesday. Read More.

5. Former pig farm in Flanders to become nature reserve

The Flemish Land Agency (VLM) has begun demolishing a former pig farm in Flemish Brabant, with the goal of integrating it into two nearby nature reserves. Read More.

6. Telenet becomes first in Belgium to make skipping all commercials impossible

Telenet clients will soon have to watch one minute of unskippable commercials before they can start watching the TV programmes they recorded, the company announced on Tuesday. Read more.

7. More Eurostars between London and Brussels from mid-August

Eurostar plans to operate more trains from London to Brussels and to Paris from mid-August. Read more.