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4 June - COVID-19 News update - Lockdown easing

4 Jun 2020 1:07 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

The COVID-19 selected news snippets for Thursday 4 June 2020 – Lockdown eases and more.

Our article on the full announcement of lockdown easement measures from Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès can be found here. 

In summary:

  • From 8 June, Belgians are allowed to meet weekly with up to 10 others - the so-called ‘extended bubble’ - outside their family/ household.
  • The catering industry can reopen on 8 June. Cafés, restaurants and night shops will be allowed to stay open until 1am. At the restaurant and café, there should be 1.5 meters between the tables (with a maximum of 10 people per table) and all customers should remain seated. Staff will wear face masks. Clubs cannot reopen before the end of August.
  • In the cultural sector, activities without an audience can take place from 8 June. From 1 July, an audience of maximum 200 people can be present. Cinemas will also open for 200 people on 1 July. Amusement parks can open from 1 July with mask wearing recommended. Major events remain prohibited until 31 August.
  • Fitness centres can reopen on 8 June, for amateurs and professional athletes, indoor and outdoor. Contact sports such as football, basket or judo are limited to contactless training. From 1 July, a seated audience of up to 200 people is allowed, respecting the safety distances. Wellness centres, saunas and indoor and outdoor pools must remain closed.
  • Religious services can take place again from 8 June with 100 people, and from 1 July with 200.
  • Weddings, banquets and receptions can take place from 8 June with 50 people, subject to compliance with the distance rules.
  • Travel is possible from 8 June within Belgium, from 15 June within the European Union, Schengen and the United Kingdom, depending on the country of destination’s own rules. Travel outside Europe has yet to be discussed.
  • Teleworking is still recommended where possible.

"The social distance rule will not apply to your broader social bubble," said Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès. "Eating together or inviting people to your house ... It is very difficult to maintain a social distance". "But do not try to kiss your friends or greet them too closely," she added. "Although there is of course an area of understanding, because we want to see more people in more sociable circumstances."

Who can you count in your weekly bubble of ten? Virologist Marc Van Ranst emphasises that these are people with whom we have intensive and close contact. According to Van Ranst, your [work] colleagues do not belong to that group.

Clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine can resume, announces WHO after analysing "available data on mortality".

Pharmacies located in the Brussels Region will soon be able to report domestic violence. A resolution to this effect was approved unanimously on Tuesday in the Equal Opportunities Committee of the regional parliament.

Cancer sufferers have twice the risk of dying from Covid-19 compared to non-cancer patients, a large study found. The more advanced the cancer, the greater the risk of dying, the study published in the medical journal The Lancet noted.

The population increase in Belgium will be much smaller due to COVID-19 at 17 000 inhabitants instead of the predicted 50 000. The increase in deaths and the reduction in migratory flows are the main reasons. And average life expectancy is predicted to decreases by five months in 2020.

A majority of farmers in Belgium have suffered financially during the corona crisis and expect further losses in the future, according to a survey by the Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Nutrition Research.

Eight out of 10 Belgians want to return to a cafe or restaurant as soon as they reopen.

STIB has lost two-thirds of its travellers. 2019 was another record year for Brussels public transport. 2020 will be a year of patience. 39% of Belgians no longer want to take the metro, according to a study by Brussels University VUB.

Cycling is growing in popularity in Brussels with both residents and commuters.

1 in 5 Belgians still hesitate to go on holiday, but younger people are more enthusiastic.

Brussels Airport: the temperature of all passengers will be systematically checked with a system installed for both departing and arriving passengers as of 15 June 15.

Sunweb will offer holidays from 15 June to destinations in France, Italy, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus first. More destinations such as Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia will follow gradually.

Italy will allow travel to and from abroad again from Wednesday. All airports in the country are open and Italians are also allowed to travel all over the country again.

Wizz airline launches flights on Monday between Brussels and Budapest.

Due to the relaxation of measures, efficient tracing of infections is a must. Currently the investigators have hardly any work. By September, it will become very serious, especially with a second wave. Flanders currently employs 400 contact researchers, but at the moment there is almost technical unemployment with barely 60 infections reported a day.

Races can start again on Monday at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The Manneken-Pis museum now ready to welcome the public.

Sciensano statistics update of 4 June. Just 82 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 7 (9%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 58 767 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 5 976 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, only 21 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 89 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 2 June, a total of 17 375 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 16 048 people have left. Currently 143 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units in Belgian hospitals.

28 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 3 (11%) were in Brussels. To date, a total 9 548 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 467 (15%) were in Brussels.

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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