A very Happy Belgian Bank Holiday Monday to you! Your COVID-19 selected news snippets for Monday 1 June 2020.
The National Security Council (NSC) will be meeting on Wednesday 3 June and, amongst other thing, will be considering the new measures required for the catering sector. The federal government and the hospitality industry have prepared a restart guide. "Account has been taken of restaurants that would like to organise two shifts in succession," said Minister Muylle. The NSC will consider measures including mandatory closing time at midnight, tables should be 1.5 meters apart in both cafés and restaurants; reservations to be mandatory for a restaurant and for cafes either a reservation is made or at least one person at a table must contact details. Ordering or sitting at the bar will not be allowed - staff, with a mask, will serve you at the table. Menus will be banned instead look at the chalk boards etc. And restaurants may not offer a bread basket, butter dish, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, etc – all such items must be individually packaged portions. Catering and hotel sector expects 45 % fewer customers when it reopens.
The borders with the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany are now open for family visits and shopping, but not the French border. Belgium in favour of opening the internal borders of Europe from June 15. Interior Minister Pieter De Crem announced this on Friday night on his Facebook page.
Everyone will be able to get tested for the presence of antibodies against the coronavirus says Minister of Health Maggie De Block.
A second wave of the corona pandemic will be "highly likely", says Herman Goossens, Antwerp professor and internationally renowned microbiologist, specialised in antibiotic resistance. And he is worried about research on covid-19 treatments. "We don't know which products will help when the second wave starts," he says.
However, when asked whether the phasing out of the corona measures is not going too fast, virologist Steven Van Gucht says: “We are now nineteen days further. That is enough to see a possible effect. And the numbers are still good. We see no effect of the relaxation for the time being.”
Only 4.7 % of blood donors have antibodies to the coronavirus, according to residual samples from the Red Cross that Sciensano has been investigating since late March. The number has not increased since the measurements at the end of April, which means that there is still no question of group immunity.
End of lockdown in residential care centres: new admissions to the old people’s homes will be allowed from 8 June. Since 12 March it has not been possible for residential care centres to welcome new guests.
GDP contracted by 3.6 % in the first quarter of 2020 according to the National Bank of Belgium.
Brussels market news: the Abattoirs outside market in Anderlecht reopened on Thursday with 50 stalls for a first 4-day weekend until Sunday. Indoors, the Foodmet, considered a shopping centre, had already started up again the weekend of May 21 with a capacity limited to some 300 visitors. No satisfactory solution has yet been found for the marché du midi. The Chaussée d'Anvers market should reopen on Wednesday, taking turns with the merchants of Place Emile Bockstael the following weekend. The flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle remains closed.
Coastal mayors need "More time … to properly organise the arrival of day visitors."
One in three Belgians will opt for a holiday in their own country this year.
Brussels: fines return for non-compliance with the low-emission zone from 1 July. These fines were temporarily suspended in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
From June 15, tourists and travellers from 29 countries will be allowed to re-enter Greece without quarantining, the Ministry of Tourism announced. Belgium (or UK) is not one of those countries.
The Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church, in collaboration with the exit strategy expert group, has developed a detailed protocol with safety regulations for a resumption of public celebrations in the churches. In a first phase, a maximum of one hundred participants per celebration is allowed.
Sciensano virus stats update of 1 June. 136 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 26 (19%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 58 517 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 5 947 (10%) cases located in Brussels.
In the past 24 hours, only 25 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 32 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 31 May, a total of 17 297 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 15 919 people have left.
19 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 4 (21%) were in Brussels. To date, a total 9 486 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 463 (15%) were in Brussels.
Currently 163 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units in Belgian hospitals.
Read the daily report (in French) here.
Federal Government COVID-19 information
The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)