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25 May - COVID-19 News update

25 May 2020 3:13 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

COVID-19 selected news snippets for Monday, 25 May 2020.

What are the new measures as of today (25 May)?:

  • Academies for part-time art education can restart in phases.
  • Parents and prospective students, who do not have access to digital alternatives, can visit a school for a guided tour, for example. The visits must take place when there are no pupils in the school, can only take place after an individual appointment.
  • Limited visits are possible in prisons: one visit per prisoner per week, preferably the same person, no minors and with distance.
  • The visiting arrangements in psychiatric care homes and residential rehabilitation facilities are expanding. From now on, several people from the same contact bubble can visit and the residents can leave the facility for activities or for a day visit or an overnight stay. Residents can once again take individual days of leave in psychiatric care homes. They are also given the opportunity to do an activity with two other people outside the facility. Group and sports activities can also be restarted under certain conditions. The facilities can determine themselves whether and when these visits and activities are possible.
  • Minors and adults with a disability who have stayed with their care provider or home day and night since the lockdown, can gradually go back temporarily for one or more days, or vice versa, to their care provider.
  • The local services can reopen their doors for one-on-one services, such as hairdresser, pedicure and manicure, takeaway and psychosocial support.

National Security Council will meet on June 3. The focus will be on the cultural, catering and sports sectors.

Interior Minister Pieter De Crem repeated that border controls will certainly not be lifted before 8 June. But at the same time, he made it clear that visiting family in neighbouring countries will be possible sooner.

Temporary unemployed is not as expensive as expected. Minister of Work Nathalie Muylle proposes to extend the temporary unemployment due to the crisis until the end of August. Temporary unemployment in March and April cost EUR 1.3 billion, according to figures from the minister, while a cost of up to EUR 3 billion was expected.

In the last quarter, some 44 % fewer 'classic' hospital admissions with overnight accommodation were made in hospitals. 76 % of the planned operations have been postponed and two-thirds of consultations have been cancelled.

70 % of residential care centres are now virus free.

There were 51 % more deaths than normal between March 16 and early May in Belgium equivalent to some 7 794 ‘excess’ deaths.)

Youth summer camps and courses may take place from 1 July with a maximum of 50 participants.

Teleworking is applied more in Belgium than in other European countries according to an SD Worx survey. Belgium is one of the European countries where a large proportion (62 %) of the working population is teleworking during confinement. The average for six European countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Netherlands and United Kingdom) is 57 %.

Horeca (hotels, restaurants, cafés) Flanders fears loss of 20 000 to 36 000 jobs. With the Dutch catering industry reopening on 1 June, the pressure in Flanders is also increasing. Horeca Flanders urges clarity for the more than 60 000 catering entrepreneurs. Restaurants, bars are advocating for a reduction in VAT to 6% for one year.

Foreign tourists are welcome again in Spain from July.

French local politicians want a quick reopening of the border with Belgium. Several MPs, senators and local politicians in the French Ardennes and the president of the Grand Est region urged the French government on Friday to urgently reopen the Franco-Belgian border. They point to the economic difficulties facing the region, which was already struggling before the outbreak of the corona crisis.

France regrets the measure taken by Britain to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on visitors from mainland Europe and is now considering introducing a similar measure for visitors making the reverse move to France. The measure would have no implications for Belgians crossing the French border.

Anyone arriving in Ireland from Thursday will be required to notify the authorities of where he or she spends 14 days of quarantine.

The authorities may reopen neighbourhood playgrounds in the open air from Wednesday, 27 May. Larger playgrounds in parks can also open again when a maximum of 20 children can be guaranteed.

Sciensano statistics update of 25 May. 250 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 25 (10%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 57 342 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 5 811 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, some 27 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 25 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 24 May, a total of 17 052 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 15 297 people have left.

32 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 4 (12%) were in Brussels. To date, a total 9 312 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 427 (15%) were in Brussels.

Currently 251 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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