Belgium in Brief: Long-Term Perspective?

Belgium in Brief: Long-Term Perspective?

In a week expected to be dominated by predictions, news, and wishes for the Consultative Committee on Friday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo surprised many when he announced another press conference, to be held at 2:30 PM today.

The press conference will be about “the evolution of the pandemic in our country, with long-term models,” De Croo’s cabinet confirmed to The Brussels Times.

An exit plan, based on a report by the experts as De Croo announced at the last press conference, is not expected yet, but the aim is to offer transparency about how decisions for relaxations or restrictions are made.

As many sectors and politicians are taking to the media to make their case, De Croo aims to clearly outline the impact of possible relaxation, in the short and the long term.

According to local media, explanations will be given by interfederal Covid-19 spokespersons Steven Van Gucht and Yves Van Laethem, who are used to explaining what is happening twice a week, during a regular press conference by the Crisis Centre.

On Sunday, however, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke already warned that it would be best to wait for another three weeks before relaxing any rules.

What do you think? Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter (Or @maithechini, since she wrote it today).

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1. Belgian PM will announce ‘long-term models’ to handle pandemic at 2:30 PM

Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo will hold a press conference at 2:30 PM about the long-term models that the Consultative Committee will base its decisions on Friday.

The press conference will be about “the evolution of the pandemic in our country, with long-term models,” De Croo’s cabinet confirmed to The Brussels Times. Read More.

2. Belgium will review curfew and non-essential travel ban on Friday

On Friday, Belgium’s Consultative Committee will review whether the current curfew and ban on essential travel will be lifted before 1 April, according to Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Questioned about whether some measures that could be relaxed include the curfew and the non-essential travel ban, Verlinden said on Flemish radio that “we will discuss that at the Consultative Committee.” Read more.

3. Belgium’s Data Protection Authority’s independence no longer guaranteed

The independence of the Data Protection Authority (DPA) is no longer guaranteed, said its director, Alexandra Jaspar, on Monday in the programme Matin Première on RTBF.

“We have to control the state but how can we do that when we have officials among us who work for the state,” she wondered. Read More.

4. Brussels police don’t fine maskless park goers

No coronavirus fines were imposed on Sunday despite many people sitting in groups without masks in Brussels’ parks, the police said.

The green areas of Brussels, particularly the Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Bois de la Cambre, were very popular on Sunday because of the good weather. Read More.

5. Belgian far-right politician investigated for non-essential trip to Paris

An investigation has been opened into Vlaams Belang MP Dries Van Langenhove for violating Belgium’s non-essential travel ban to take part in an extreme-right demonstration in Paris this weekend. Read More.

6. Plane lands in Liège after losing bits of its engine in explosion

A plane was forced to land in Belgium when one of its engines exploded shortly after taking off from Maastricht in the Netherlands on Saturday afternoon, according to the Veiligheidsregio, the safety region responsible for the area.

Bits of metal from the plane fell around the Dutch village of Meersen, damaging several vehicles, but the aircraft was able to land in Liège, after being diverted to the Belgian town for safety reasons, a spokesman for the Veiligheidsregio reported. Read More.

7. New temperature record for 21 February: 17.9° C in Brussels

A new temperature record for a 21 February was recorded yesterday by the Royal Meteorological Institute based in Uccle, Brussels, where the temperatures reached 17.9° C.

The previous record at 14.6° C dates back to 1946, meteorologist David Dehenauw said. Read more.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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