COVID-19 selected news snippets for Friday, 24 April 2020.
Sciensano update of 24 April. 1 496 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 106 (7%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 44 293 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 4 451 (10%) cases located in Brussels.
In the past 24 hours, 210 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 322 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 23 April, a total of 14 218 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 10 122 people have left.
190 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 46 (24%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 6 679 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 060 (16%) were in Brussels.
Read the full daily report (in French) here.
At 14h30 this afternoon, the National Security Council meets to discuss the next steps. The outcome of the meeting is usually announced around 19h00.
The European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on European countries to exercise caution in easing measures against the corona virus.
Minister of Work and Economy Nathalie Muylle has proposed half-time “corona leave” for parents at a monthly compensation of EUR 350 per parent. The option to take additional parental leave during the corona crisis is extended from single parents to all parents with at least one child under the age of 12.
Minister-President of Brussels Region Rudi Vervoort said: "Wearing a mask will not be compulsory in public space in Brussels."
Seven Brussels communes have now decided to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists: Ixelles, Anderlecht, Brussels city, Watermael, Evere, Schaerbeek and Saint-Gilles.
Crèches and preschool nurseries have been recognised as essential by the government. They have not had to close and continue to take in children. But currently, fewer children come to their centres leading to a drop in their income. The government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation has decided to increase its Emergency Fund by almost EUR 3.7 million euros in their favour.
"We should not relax the measures today or tomorrow. We are looking at what could be possible from mid-May and we need that time to bring the epidemic down even more," says virologist Marc Van Ranst.
"We must be mentally prepared to go to a second lockdown," said virologist Steven Van Gucht about the winter period.
The majority of companies are ready to organise their work in an appropriate way, but they expect clarity, according to the Federation of Belgian Enterprises.
One in six freelancers risks bankruptcy or cessation of their activities due to the coronavirus crisis, estimates their union SNI.
Real estate transactions have decrease by 33%, but prices remain stable.
The City of Brussels has invited its citizens to register online to receive vegetables, flowers and salad seeds plus compost to create “kitchen gardens” during the confinement.
Federal Government COVID-19 information
The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)