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Belgium in Brief: What Does Returning To Red Mean?

Credit: Belga

The latest update to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) map has seen all of Belgium return to red, again.

Thankfully, the situation we now find ourselves in is very different to the last time. This time around, increased vaccination rates will strengthen our resilience and allow us to avoid severe restrictions, which was not the case previously.

So, let’s have a look at what going red ACTUALLY MEANS.

It turns out that this isn’t as simple as I had hoped. Thankfully @Maajtee, our resident expert on all things Covid, was able to clear things up. She explained how the changes don’t so much affect Belgium as the rest of Europe in its entirety.

Red, Orange, Green are simply representations of the rate of infection in a region at the time the figures were given. Just like the traffic light system they’re based on, it’s all about how people react to them.

These colours, besides being a visual representation of how countries are doing, don’t really SAY a lot, and are mostly for the unvaccinated.

While Member States cannot impose extra restrictions on travellers coming from a green area, they can and have demanded a negative test and/or quarantine from (unvaccinated) people coming from orange and red zones.

Here in Belgium, non-vaccinated people aged 12 and over who do not have a recovery certificate must be tested if they return to Belgium from a red zone, on day 1 as well as on day 7 of their return. Will other countries do the same? Some already have.

Here’s the story. Let @johnstonjules know what you think. 

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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. Belgium’s €21 million EuroMillions winner is yet to collect

A Belgian who won more than €21 million with EuroMillions on 31 August is yet to make themselves known. Is it you? Maybe it’s time to check. Read more.

2. De Wever’s criticism of coronavirus rules leaves questions hanging

Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden. Credit: Belga

On Thursday morning, N-VA party president and Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever called out “major inconsistencies” in the latest Ministerial Decree (which gives the coronavirus measures legal basis) drafted and published by Verlinden’s offices.

By Thursday evening, Belgium’s Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden was calling him out for this. In response, Verlinden pointed out that the Flemish government, represented at the Consultative Committees by Minister-President Jan Jambon of De Wever’s N-VA party, at no point opposed the proposed measures, and never protested against the draft Ministerial Decree either.

Here’s the story.

3. Brussels schools ‘informally ask’ about vaccination among pupils

Teachers can’t ask their pupils whether or not they have been vaccinated, but that doesn’t stop kids from talking about it anyway. Read more.

4. Ryanair plans eleven new routes from Charleroi this winter

New routes, new planes, new jobs. As travel starts to resume, the low-cost airline has plans for Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Read more.

5. Embargo on Belgian pork lifted in 14 out of 30 countries

Fourteen of the 30 countries and territories that had temporarily restricted the export of Belgian pork following the discovery of African swine fever (ASF) in the country back in September 2018 have now lifted that embargo. Read more.

6. 133 pupils ‘without a school’ in Brussels as school year starts

A total of 167 children were still on the waiting list for a place in a school of their choice on Thursday, as most secondary school pupils had already returned to school in Wallonia and Brussels. Read more.

7. Covid-19: More than 2,000 positive tests a day, deaths down 12%

No way to really change how this one is presented. Deaths are dropping but the average number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Belgium continues to pass 2,000 per day. Read more.

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