‘Hug it out’: foreign press love Belgian ‘cuddle contacts’
Thursday, 12 November 2020
Several international news outlets have been captivated by Belgium’s “cuddle contact” rule, which allows people to be physically close to one person outside their households during the lockdown.
Not long after the announcement that Belgium went back into lockdown, and the fact that Belgians were allowed to pick one “cuddle contact” to be physically close to during the period of isolation, the international press picked up on the term and tried to explain the Belgian concept across the world.
When announcing the new Belgian lockdown on 30 October, the British newspaper The Telegraph already noted that Belgians could choose a ‘cuddle contact’.
“The ‘knuffelcontact’,” the newspaper said, using Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke’s Dutch word for it, “was introduced to safeguard the mental health of people living alone during lockdown. People living alone are allowed two “hug-buddies” under the new rules.”
The article also explains the purpose of such a so-called ‘cuddle contact’, saying that “despite being one of the cuter sounding words in the Dutch language, the idea of ‘cuddle contacts’ is meant to address serious mental health concerns.”