Belgium in Brief: A Very Cold Shower

Belgium in Brief: A Very Cold Shower

In a slightly odd move, today we’re focusing on some comments made BEFORE the Consultative Committee revealed its broad measures to avoid another lockdown.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Consultative Committee meeting, N-VA chairperson and Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever commented that while new measures made sense, they were going to be a “very cold shower” for those who saw the vaccine as a ticket back to normality.

This pandemic has in many ways shown us how governments have been forced to react to the situation on the fly. The Consultative Committee is a prime example. Every update seems based on new info, with every prediction delivered with the necessary hedging because there is a chance things could change.

“These decisions are not easy. For many people they are undoubtedly disappointing,” said Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke yesterday. “But this is an absolute minimum.”

“Right now, we have an explosion of infections. I will give one figure that will also be on the Sciensano dashboard tomorrow: on 8 November, there were 15,224 infections in our country. The provisional figure for Monday, 15 November is 19,306,” he added.

“This is truly an explosion of infections. We must intervene everywhere and strongly,” Vandenbroucke said, stressing that checks and controls will be stricter from now on as well.

So, was this news a very cold shower for you?

Let @johnstonjules know (or email me 

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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 takes broad measures ‘to avoid another lockdown’

Belgium is once again implementing several strict measures to combat the rapid rise in coronavirus infections, announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Wednesday. Read more.

2. ‘Tired of waiting’: Children and young people go months without critical health services

Credit: Week tegen kinder armoede

Young people and children are “tired of waiting” for critical health services, according to an annual report from the Children’s Rights Commission (Kinderrechtencommissariaat). Read more.

3. Concerns about future of Belgian railway are premature, government says

Various mobility organisations have warned that the future of trains in Belgium and the safety of passengers are in peril, but the federal government says the alarm bells are being rung prematurely because the issues are still being discussed internally. Read more.

4. ‘Bare minimum measures, or complete lockdown,’ says health minister

The new coronavirus measures, which were announced by the government on Wednesday evening and will take effect on Saturday, are the bare minimum needed to avoid a complete lockdown, health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said.  Read more.

5. ‘Jackpotting’ attempt sees 62 ATMs closed in Belgium

The Belgian bank Argenta will close 62 ATMs in Belgium after an attempted ‘jackpotting’ of a machine in the Antwerp area. Read more.

6. ‘Difficult to predict’ if latest measures will be sufficient, says Van Ranst

It is difficult to predict whether or not the measures announced by the Consultative Committee on Wednesday will be enough to turn the tide, says virologist Marc Van Ranst. Read more.

7. Average of 28 people dying every day due to Covid-19

On average, there were 28 deaths as a result of the coronavirus every day in the past week in Belgium, as Covid cases continue to rise. Here’s more.

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