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18 May - COVID-19 News update

18 May 2020 11:59 AM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

COVID-19 selected news snippets for Monday 18 May 2020.

Today, Belgium begins phase 2 of deconfinement, among the changes: gradual resumption of classes, reopening of museums, markets, hairdressers, driving schools, and resumption of outdoor sports. All the changes explained here.

Italy wants to open its borders again on June 3. The Italian government confirmed this on Saturday after the news was already reported in the media. From then on, residents of the European Union and countries of the Schengen zone would be welcome again without having to quarantine for two weeks.

In a resolution adopted by a large majority, the European Parliament called for an economic recovery fund of EUR 2 billion to address the consequences of the corona crisis.

In certain cases, grandparents can look after their grandchildren again, Flemish Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke announced. The grandparents in question cannot be older than 65 and they must not have any health concerns.

In order to avoid overcrowding on public transport when schools reopen and the further resumption of economic life, Brussels Minister of Mobility Elke Van den Brandt presents an alternative to commuters: Park + Bike. A number of peripheral car parks become free and the commuters receive a free six-month subscription to pedal to their destination with a shared bicycle.

About 45 % of Belgian young people have financial problems due to the corona crisis. 13 % have serious financial problems, according to a survey by banking federation Febelfin.

The catering sector is losing EUR 47 million per day.

The market vendors of the flea market on the Vossenplein/Place du Jeu de Balle in Brussels think that their market should resume from Monday like other large markets. To express their displeasure, they holding a protest march this morning.

Similarly, the Belgian Massage Federation does not understand why the masseurs should not resume work today.

The Flemish Swimming Federation, together with the French-speaking counterpart Fédération Francophone de Natation and the Royal Belgian Swimming Federation, is addressing the various Ministers of Sport jointly. They have prepared a roadmap to allow the opening of the pools and request that this be done as soon as possible.

"#Restart": a RTBF plan worth EUR 13.4 million to support culture during the coronavirus era. Broadcaster RTBF offers a recovery plan and support for the culture, audiovisual and local economy sectors in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Belgians spent 30% less during confinement, the only exception being on food.

Most of the 19 Brussels municipalities are ready to reopen schools on Monday, however Watermael-Boitsfort, Schaerbeek and Sint-Joost-ten-Node are postponing the reopening.

All STIB bus, tram and metro lines are running normally today.

The social distance of 1.5 meters remains the norm, but is no longer mandatory for public transport, the Flemish government has decided, reports De Lijn. A mouth mask remains mandatory for travellers from 12 years old.

There will be no edition of the Belgian Pride Parade in Brussels in 2020. The parade had previously been postponed to August 29.

Sciensano stats update of 18 May. 279 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 22 (8%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 55 559 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 5 657 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, only 43 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 27 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 17 May, a total of 16 708 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 14 657 people have left.

28 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 6 (22%) were in Brussels. To date, a total 9 080 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 400 (15%) were in Brussels.

Currently 342 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units in Belgian hospitals.

Read the daily report (in French) here.

Useful Links

Federal Government COVID-19 information

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

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