Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: Nothing Changes, Yet

The meeting of the consultative committee held this weekend concluded with a fizzle, without any new measures to tackle the recent flare-up of cases.

In the face of rising infections across the country, and new patients appearing particularly in the age groups 20-29 and 50-59, it was widely expected that something would change.

It had been reported that the committee might be considering some kind of strengthening of the measures still in place, such as ensuring proper distancing in cafes and restaurants, where the rules are not always scrupulously observed.

However, it didn’t. No new measures were decided, and ultimately Belgium is left waiting ahead of the next meeting on  Thursday, with no clear idea of what will change – if anything.

So, with that in mind, on to the news.

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. Coronavirus: Where are the hot-spots?

One of the issues that emerged from the meeting of the consultative committee with experts yesterday was the importance of identifying the clusters, or hot-spots, of the current flare-up in the number of new infections.

In its plans for a second wave of the epidemic – which now seems to be upon us – the national security council considered the emergency measure of introducing a limited lockdown – on a provincial or even more local level.

That is an admission of the fact that a nationwide lockdown, as happened in March and which has still not been entirely lifted, would be an absolute catastrophe for the economy, and would stand little chance of being respected by the population.

So where are these hot-spots?

2. Belgian average rises to 154 coronavirus infections per day

An average of 154.1 people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium during the past week, according to figures by the Federal Public Health Service on Monday.

The trend of new infections per day has risen by 66% over the 7-day period from 10 to 16 July, compared to the average of 93 new infections per day the week before.  Read more.

3. Corona crisis in Belgium: Prime Minister looks back

The prime minister, Sophie Wilmès, has taken the time to looks back on the development of the crisis over which she presided.

Speaking to the French-speaking public broadcaster RTBF, she admitted she would have regrets about the way things were handled, but in words that echo the words of the prayer of St Augustine for purity and chastity: “But not yet”.

To begin with, she described the Carnival holiday period, when the pandemic was at Belgium’s gates – a situation she describes as “potentially problematic”.

“I was in contact with political representatives of the regions because we knew that we were going to have to work together when things started to speed up. For example, we had to manage the start of the new school term. We were not yet at the peak of the crisis”. Read More.

4. Van Ranst: ‘We have a chance, a week’ to reverse rising figures

Now is the time to act to tackle the recent coronavirus (Covid-19) flare-ups in Belgium, Marc Van Ranst told VTM on Sunday.

The consultative committee met on Sunday to evaluate the current coronavirus situation but did not agree on any new measures to tackle the recent flare-up of cases in Belgium. Read more.

5. Belgium restarts coronavirus press conference three times per week

As the coronavirus figures in Belgium are rising again, the national health institute Sciensano and the Crisis Centre will start holding a coronavirus press conference again three times per week, they announced.

The press briefings will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The first one will be held today at 12:00 noon. Read more.

6. Belgium’s 6 ‘Golden Rules’: a recap

With the news that Belgium will not implement any new measures to tackle the recent flare-up of cases, it’s time for a reminder of the rules already in place, as reiterated on Sunday. Read more.

7. Belgium extends temporary unemployment

Federal Labour Minister Nathalie Muylle has announced the extension to yearend of a measure facilitating temporary unemployment, amid expectations of a wave of requests in this regard from employers.

Speaking in the Chamber earlier in the week, Minister Muylle said she was ready to respond positively to such requests. She then followed this up with a public announcement that the measure would, in fact, be extended. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Eating less meat won’t actually help much with Flemish CO2 emissions
When it comes to the ways in which ordinary people can help to reduce CO2 emissions, eating less meat is often touted as an important solution. ...
At least one in seven coronavirus patients suffers from long-term Covid
Six months after becoming infected with the coronavirus, at least one in seven people still show symptoms connected to the infection, varying from ...
Operation Sky ECC: Major arrests and another large scale operation
A major operation took place last night in Belgium as a result of Operation Sky ECC, the name given to an investigation into organised crime that ...
Consultative Committee expected to discuss telework and state of emergency
On Tuesday afternoon, Belgium's Consultative Committee will be meeting earlier than expected to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation. ...
Highest number of new Covid-19 cases recorded since November 2020
The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Belgium is continuing to increase and has now reached levels last recorded in November ...
Prototype test plane crashes in Belgium after pilot ejects
A prototype aircraft crashed on Sunday afternoon in Yves-Gomezée (Walcourt, Namur province) during a test flight, according to several local media ...
EU questions Israeli decision to ban Palestinian NGOs
The Israeli government’s decision on Friday to outlaw six Palestinian civil society organisations operating in the West Bank has caused consternation ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
More politicians than ordinary citizens at the Conference on the Future of Europe
The second Plenary of the Conference took place on Saturday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and discussed the contributions from the ...
Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet today
The next meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Tuesday at 4:30 PM, according to local media ...
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are world’s biggest plastic polluters
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Unilever were found to be the world's biggest polluters of plastic in a report published by Branded on Monday. Over 11,000 ...
Four men charged with illegally buying thousands of live ducks to hunt on private land
Four Belgian men will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the purchase of thousands of ducks, which were then released into a private ...