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20 May - Covid-19 news update

20 May 2020 12:02 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

COVID-19 selected news snippets for Wednesday, 20 May 2020.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) may grant conditional approval this week for the use of antiviral drug Remdesivir in the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

Healthcare workers' unions file strike notice in hospitals and nursing homes to protest against two royal decrees concerning the “requisition” of staff and the delegation of care tasks to unqualified personnel. “They are the wrong answer to a real problem, the real problem is years of austerity and destruction of social security.”

The Belgian government is discussing the gradual opening of Belgium’s borders with the Netherlands, France, Germany and Luxembourg. However, the removal of border controls requires “the same approach to the disease on one side of the border as on the other side, and the level of infection needs to be under control,” according to Philippe Goffin, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other aspects must now be looked at, such as visiting relatives who live abroad, shopping in neighbouring countries and the maintenance of real estate abroad.

The government will not meet the May 20 deadline for the delivery of the filters to slide into fabric masks. Minister Koen Geens says. The bulk will still arrive at the municipalities on Friday. They then distribute it according to their own rhythm. Each citizen will receive a mask and two filters from the federal government.

Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem asks the provincial governors to call the mayors to order who have taken measures in recent weeks that are much more stringent than the provisions of the National Security Council.

Prime Minister Wilmès wants to make a decision on second homeowners in the coming days. The coastal mayors support the appeal by the Flemish Minister of Tourism Zuhal Demir to lift the restrictions for second home owners 'as soon as possible'.

More than half of Belgians who contracted COVID-19 were probably infected at work according to University of Antwerp's corona survey.

People with a disability can return home or to a care provider for 1, 2 or more days from 25 May.

The Trump effect: The number of incidents related to bleach "explodes" with Belgians putting it in their bathtubs. The Poison Control Centre received 1 000 more calls than last year during April.

The excess mortality caused by the coronavirus epidemic has been greater in the Brussels Region, the University VUB said based on figures from the statistical office Statbel. In comparison with the last five years, 8 186 additional deaths were recorded in Belgium from March 16 to May 3.

Towards a partial reopening of the catering sector on June 8? Horeca Magazine published a "white paper" containing various measures taken abroad to reopen the sector to the public. This document is based "on the guidelines already published in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria and other countries". According to Comeos, the sector is losing EUR 47 million a day.

Villo!- the Brussels bike sharing service - offers six months free for all new registrations. New users will be able to choose between classic bikes and the electric option.

More Belgians are booking holiday homes within the country. The regions in which reservations are the most significant are Liège, Luxembourg and Namur.

STIB: a bus driver has tested positive for coronavirus.

Ostend opts for beach reservation system. The coast has long been looking for a beach strategy to save the summer. Ostend will use a reservation system for the busiest stretches of beach, says mayor Bart Tommelein. The reservation will be free and will be tested in June.

Descent of the Lesse in a kayak is allowed from 21 May. Only the small descent of 12 km will be authorised and only reserved for people living under the same roof.

Sciensano statistics update of 20 May. 192 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 18 (9%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 55 983 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 5 691 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, only 58 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 160 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 19 May, a total of 16 816 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 14 847 people have left.

42 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 2 (5%) were in Brussels. To date, a total 9 150 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 408 (15%) were in Brussels.

Currently 313 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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