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28 April - COVID-19 News update

28 Apr 2020 12:21 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

COVID-19 selected news snippets for Tuesday, 28 April 2020.

Sciensano update of 28 April. 647 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 117 (18%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 47 334 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 4 832 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, 123 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 65 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 27 April, a total of 14 887 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 10 943 people have left.

134 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 16 (12%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 7 331 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 137 (16%) were in Brussels.

Read the full daily report (in French) here.

The Government may not be able to deliver enough mouth masks on time for the first start-up phase. Instead, between 4 and 20 May, every citizen will receive two filters for a mouth mask in their letterbox. The government entrusted the companies Sioen and Deltrian with the task of producing 20 million filters which will be used to improve the quality of the fabric masks which will have to be worn on public transport from 4 May.

It looks like the current Wilmès government will not be able to continue after June. The French-speaking socialists of the PS will not ask for an extension of the special powers, unless the health crisis flares up again. The French-speaking liberal party MR also regrets the positions expressed over the past few days with regard to the special powers and the trust granted to the federal government.

It is uncertain whether the introduction of a "corona leave" for working parents with young children can start on 1 May. The text of the decision is ready, according to the Muylle cabinet, but it still has to get clearance from the federal government.

"Until May 4, it is essential that everyone stays at home". The start of ‘deconfinement’ is approaching, but the epidemic is not over, says Steven Van Gucht.

From 4 May it will be possible to go to a general practitioner (GP) again, most likely by appointment and following strict distancing measures.

Most physiotherapists are ready to resume service from 4 May, their professional association Axxon said.

The mental health sector will start psychiatric treatment again as soon as possible from 4 May. Three out of five treatments were discontinued during the confinement.

Etterbeek commune has made the decision to distribute two reusable masks per inhabitant.

Gradual resumption of economic activities is now envisaged, and with it, the fear of many workers of the return to work, and of the conditions under which this will take place. A "right of withdrawal" for employees exists in Belgian law. This is an individual right for all workers to leave their job in case of "grave and imminent danger" - without the risk of being dismissed. The legal position is detailed in a note by the University ULB. It has never been used in Belgium to date.

18% of Belgian workers fear losing their jobs due to the crisis. This is the result of the 11th annual barometer from the Acerta human resources services group.

Belgium has opted for a call centre rather than a tracing app. 2000 people should be recruited in the coming days. It will be difficult to recruit them on time. “Mutualities” (health insurers) might step in as they have professional structures that are trained to work in the use of confidential medical records.

TUI Belgium has cancelled all holidays and flights until 7 June at least. Foreign travel may not be allowed again until 8 June at the earliest.

On 4 May, De Lijn will largely resume its normal timetable. And on STIB/ MIVB the capacity of trams, buses and metros will be gradually revised upwards from 4 May.

Parents are bringing their children to childcare nurseries more often, as they find it too difficult to combine raising kids with telework. Since last week, the Partena health insurance fund has noticed an increase since the start of the lockdown, with numbers going back to 40 – 45% of normal occupancy.

The Spa 24 Hours race will take place on 24-25 October. The race was originally scheduled for 25-26 July.

Useful Links

Federal Government COVID-19 information

The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

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