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Belgium in Brief: This Is Not The Start of a Third Wave

Credit: Belga / Age of Empires

With a growing number of outbreaks of the UK coronavirus variant, and numerous infections among children and teenagers, many are wondering whether this is the start of the third wave in Belgium.

According to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, the answer is very clear: “No. At this moment, we cannot speak of the start of the third wave.”

“Yes, we are seeing an increase in the number of infections, but that is partly driven by the extra testing,” he said. “The daily hospital admissions showed a slight increase earlier, but have now stabilised.”

In short: the curve is under control for the time being, according to Van Gucht.

“I believe that, provided the measures are followed up properly, we can also keep it that way,” he said, adding that the carnival holidays – when schools are closed and a lot of people take breaks from work – is also near.

“Hopefully, that will be a welcome respite,” said Van Gucht. “And then, we will be another step closer to spring.”

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

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1. Belgian police are ‘ready’ for coronavirus riots

Belgian justice and security services are ready to react in case of riots similar to those in the Netherlands happening in Belgium, following calls to protest across the country this weekend.

The Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, Vincent Van Quickenborne and Annelies Verlinden, assured on Thursday that the security and justice services were at the ready. Read More.

2. Belgian Bureaucracy: Etterbeek can’t make Cinquantenaire safer after attempted rape

Following the call for better lighting in Cinquantenaire Park by a woman who was recently nearly raped in the area, the municipality of Etterbeek has explained that the park’s cultural heritage status prevents them from making any structural changes to make it safer.

Speaking to The Brussels Times, Etterbeek mayor Vincent De Wolf explained that he or his municipality cannot make changes to the park area, as it is classified as a cultural heritage site, which is managed by the Regional government. Read More.

3. Experts should stop ‘spreading uncertainties’ on television, politicians say

Leader of the Flemish liberal Open VLD party Egbert Lachaert has criticised Belgium’s coronavirus experts for “spreading uncertainties around” on television.

The experts’ “often contradictory, always pessimistic” communication does not help with keeping the population’s motivation up, Lachaert said. Read more.

4. Brussels Town hall appears in Age of Empires II update

Excited fans have flocked to social media after spotting a version of the town hall of Brussels as well as other Belgian landmarks in a recent update to the massively popular Age of Empires II game.

Launched on 26 January, the new update 8 years in the making has seen European game makers return to their roots, according to Bert Beeckman, Project lead at Forgotten Empires on Twitter. Read More.

5. Brussels family held hostage by fake police

Police in Brussels are investigating an attack in the Forest commune of the city yesterday in which three men posing as police officers forced entry to a family home and handcuffed a father and his three sons.

The men, wearing uniforms and carrying handcuffs and police radios, claimed to be there to carry out a house search. The householder was pushed inside and handcuffed, as were his three sons aged 15 to 20. The mother of the family was not at home at that point. Read More.

6. ‘No causal link found’: 14 deaths after vaccination in Belgium

In Belgium, 14 people have died after being vaccinated against the coronavirus, but no causal link between the two has been formally established, according to the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP).

Every week, the FAMHP publishes an overview of the adverse reactions reported following the administration of a Covid-19 vaccine, aiming to increase confidence in vaccines by demonstrating transparency. Read More.

7. Corruption in the world is hampering efforts to fight Covid-19: report

Corruption in the world is undermining the efforts of health care system to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest report produced by the NGO Transparency International (TI).

Every year, TI produces its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks the countries of the world according to their levels of public sector corruption, scoring them on a scale of zero to 100, where 100 is very clean. Read More.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times