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3 Mar 2020 11:35 AM | Tim Reynolds

The Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment has established a website on the #COVID19 virus that is available in English as well as Flemish, French and German.

Contact us if you want the BBCA to post a News Story or an Event that is strongly linked to the British Community in Brussels.  We reserve the right to select items for publication and to edit items as required for style and space.

Email    BBCA.NewsAndEvents@gmail.com

News and Events -----------

  • 1 Apr 2020 10:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Some recent announcements from the Belgian government(s).

    There will be "No additional hospital fees for patients with coronavirus" says Federal Health minister Maggie De Block.

    The situation in 146 nursing and care homes within the Brussels Region is improving, with a drop in the number of residents hospitalised and the number of deaths due to the new coronavirus, announced the regional Minister of Action Social and Health, Alain Maron.

    Wallonia wants to produce mouth masks before the end of May, the Walloon government has announced. To this end, it has partnered with the international company Deltrian, which has a branch in Fleurus and which specialises in the production of air filters.

    The problem of disinfectant gels has been solved, says Minister Philippe De Backer who is responsible for the supply of equipment intended to fight the coronavirus.

    Brussels mental health professionals have set up a helpline to listen to residents' worries and point them in the direction of further help. The number is 025 01 01 27, or visit this website

    Remember, up to date information on the COVID-19 crisis can be found on the dedicated Federal COVID-19 website.

  • 31 Mar 2020 11:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Belgian news snippets for Tuesday 31 March.

    Concern is growing for the agriculture sector. Even though people are allowed to cross the border for work (with the permission of their employer or a vignette), in practice, few seasonal workers are finding their way to the fields. "If nothing changes, we will reap nothing this year." A farmer’s union has called for temporary unemployed people to be employed in the fields.

    Stores specialising in items for babies and toddlers have been added to the list of essential stores.

    The free federal government telephone line 0800 14 689 to answer questions from the public about the coronavirus has already received 150 000 calls. The information line is also available by email at info-coronavirus@health.fgov.be.

    Proximus has extended free calls to fixed lines and unlimited fixed internet.

    Bruxelles Propreté: blue and yellow bags will not be collected for three days.

    The animal rights association Gaia has launched a free number 0800 53 335 to receive calls and questions about the welfare of pets during the COVID19 confinement. 
  • 30 Mar 2020 11:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FYI Consumer protection body Test Achats has set up an online platform to specifically address COVID-19 related scams and fraud attempts. The group is also monitoring price increases for a range of medical supplies.

    Find out more on the Test Achats website

  • 30 Mar 2020 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium continues some news snippets on travel issues.

    About 20,000 Belgians are still stuck abroad. In recent days, Belgians have returned from Mali, Vietnam, the Philippines and Haiti. Travellers from Asia will be able to return home this week.

    The socialist railway union has asked SNCB to temporarily close all counters. 

    Thalys will adjust its offer from Tuesday with only one return trip between Paris and Brussels, and one between Brussels and Amsterdam. The number of available places will also be limited to keep sufficient space between travellers. ICE and Eurostar have already adapted their schedules.

    The STIB service in Brussels will be reserved for essential trips only during the weekend. 

    UK shipping company P&O Ferries is no longer carring passengers on the Zeebrugge-Hull and Calais-Dover lines as it now wants to focus on maintaining freight flows between the British Isles and the European continent.

    Finally, at Brussels Airport passengers flying in from Italy, Spain and Greece will be closely monitored on arrival. 

  • 27 Mar 2020 7:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    #COVID19 LOCKDOWN UPDATE: The #StayHome period in Belgium is to be extended by a fortnight to 19 April, and could be extended again until 3 May.

    Bon weekend from all at BBCA! For more information on the #COVID19 situation in Belgium, updated every day, visit The Bulletin's dedicated webpage.

  • 26 Mar 2020 12:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sciensano, a Belgian scientific organisation working on human and animal health, publishes a daily briefing on the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic at regional, national and international levels. Publication is usually around noon.

    You can access the latest briefing here (in French. Dutch also available).

    The above images shows data on the current distribution of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Belgium (left) and the number of confirmed cases by region (right). The later image uses the date of the diagnosis where possible and therefore the there may be a delay in finalising more recent daily numbers. The data is from the Sciensano report of 26 March 2020.

    A more granular view of the distribution of cases is given above at commune level.

    Although progress is being made in containing the spread of the disease within Belgium, clearly there is still much to be done. And internationally the virus is continuing to spread. The Federal Government's National Security Council meets on Friday to consider if the lock-down should be extended beyond 5 April.

    Keep up to date with developments by bookmarking The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage for the latest news and information.

  • 24 Mar 2020 6:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Looking after your mental health is especially important during the COVID19 coronavirus pandemic and our enforced isolation and social distancing.

    The disruption to our lives can lead to heightened anxiety and it is a particularly difficult period for people with existing mental health concerns and for those who may be facing problems for the first time.

    Sarah Crew at The Bulletin Magazine has talked to clinical psychologists Lisa Classen and Marie-Thérèse Kastl at CHS Belgium to see how this community mental health centre, educational testing service and 24-hour crisis helpline is helping people during this difficult time.

    Read the article here

  • 20 Mar 2020 11:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Three Brussels-based projects that are tackling social and/ or medical needs in response to #COVID19 in #Belgium and need your support.

    1/ The Fondation Roi Baudouin is coordinating donations to the CHU St. Pierre / UMC Sint-Pieter hospital for the procurement of ventilators and other vital medical equipment. You can donate here (web page in English).

    2/ The Covid-Solidarity platform is co-ordinating offers of help with requests for assistance with grocery shopping etc for the more vulnerable. Find out more about how to get involved or how to request assistance here.

    Or visit their Facebook Group here

    3/ The Serve the City Brussels initiative is responding to the #COVID19 crisis and has information on volunteering and other efforts in Brussels here

    All these initiatives deserve your support. And don't forget - we can celebrate and applaud the emergency services and everyone involved in the fight against COVID19 every evening at 8pm. Stay safe, stay strong.

  • 18 Mar 2020 9:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Belgian National Security Council made this Tuesday March 17, 2020 the decision to reinforce the measures already taken to fight against the coronavirus. These new measures come into force on Wednesday March 18, 2020 at 12 noon and will remain in effect until at least April 5, 2020.

    Personal hygiene guidelines as well as social distancing measures remain the best actions that everyone must respect. Their strict respect by everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, is a necessity to counter the virus. Everyone's civic sense and a spirit of solidarity with the weakest are essential.

    However, further efforts are needed to counter the further spread of the virus. It is crucial now to take and respect other measures.

    What does this mean in concrete terms?

    • Everyone must stay at home as much as possible to limit outside contact.
    • You can leave your home to:

    Go to a grocery store

    Go to the doctor

    Go to the pharmacy

    Go to the post office ATM

    Go to the bank counter

    Go to the petrol station

    Provide assistance to vulnerable people.

    • Non-essential stores are closed except:


    Hair salons (one client at a time)

    Night shops (until 10 p.m.)

    Everyone must of course respect social distances

    • All food stores remain open.

    Access to supermarkets will be controlled in order to limit the number of people present at the same time inside (maximum 1 person per 10 m² and this, for maximum 30 minutes per person).

    • Markets are closed, unless they are essential for the food supply and insofar as the local authority can guarantee measures of social distancing.
    • Stores mainly selling animal feed are covered by the definition of food stores and may remain open.
    • Outdoor physical activities (walking, running, biking) are recommended but only between people living under the same roof or with a friend and limiting contact with others (1.5 meter distance).
    • Any other gathering is prohibited.
    • Hotels, restaurants and cafés must bring in their outdoor patio furniture.
    • Public transport must be organized in such a way that social distancing can be guaranteed.
    • Companies of all sizes can continue their activities provided they organize telework as much as possible or if they can guarantee measures of social distancing. If this is not possible, they must close. In the event of non-compliance with this measure, sanctions will be applied. This does not apply to crucial sectors and essential services.
    • All non-essential travel abroad is prohibited.

    Local and federal police will ensure strict compliance with the measures taken to fight against the coronavirus and help health professionals.

    We are all committed to act now.

    Social distancing should be applied as strictly as possible.

    Stay at home, take care of yourself and others!

    The full statement (in French) of the Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès can be found here

  • 17 Mar 2020 8:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Belgium will enter 'lock down' to combat the #COVID19 virus from tomorrow (Wednesday 18 March). The decision was made by Belgian National Security Council (CNS) involving the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, the competent ministers, the representatives of the federated entities and the heads of the security services at a meeting today.

    This confinement begins Wednesday from noon and will continue until April 5, but is subject to review. The police have been requested to strictly enforce the lock down.

    The population should stay at home , but will be allowed to go out in an emergency or to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, the post office, bank or to refuel their vehicle.

    Any and all meetings are prohibited.

    Physical activity is also allowed outside: walking, jogging, cycling, but only with a loved one who lives under the same roof. Care should be taken to maintain a distance of 1.5m between people. Via RTBF

    See the full CNS press conference (via RTBF). 

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