Belgians spend less time at home than during the first lockdown
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Belgians spend less time at home than during the first lockdown

Credit: Belga

People in Belgium are spending less time at home than during the first lockdown, Sciensano virologist Steven Van Gucht said at a crisis centre press conference on Friday.

Belgians are spending 17% more time at home on average, Van Gucht said based on data from Google Mobility. During the first lockdown in March, that number rose to 25%.

In addition, people are making 46% fewer displacements for work, compared to 62% fewer during the first lockdown.

Finally, Belgians are making 56% fewer displacements for free time, according to the data, whereas that number was 78% during the first lockdown.

“The data show that the lockdown measures are less far-reaching than the first time, but we can nevertheless see a clear decline in the figures,” Van Gucht said.

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Belgium’s first lockdown included a ban on non-essential displacements. People were only allowed to leave their home to go to work, to buy food, to go to the bank, the post office, the doctor, the pharmacy and to fill up the car with gas.

The second lockdown did not include such a ban, as restricting movement would “not be proportionate to what we want to achieve,” according to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Belgium’s Consultative Committee on 13 November decided that the lockdown would last for at least another two weeks, despite improvements in the country’s coronavirus situation. The next Consultative Committee meeting is scheduled for 27 November.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times