Log in

MEMBERS LOG-ON TO SEE ADDITIONAL FEATURES  

Help


Brussels British Community Association

Headline

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 -----------

  • 17 Apr 2020 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 selected news snippets for Friday, 17 April 2020.


    Sciensano update of 17 April. 1,329 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 143 (11%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 36,138 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 3,611 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

    In the past 24 hours, 320 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 399 people left hospital. Between March 15 and April 16, a total of 12,562 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 7,961 people have left.

    313 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 67 (21%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 5,163 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 815 (16%) were in Brussels. Also see news note below re a possible deaths data revision.

    Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    Sciensano has also nearly finished a document with the most important mouth mask information and instructions on how to make them yourself.

    Belgium is to review its way of counting COVID-19 related deaths as they may be too "transparent". The Belgian way of recording the number of deaths is not entirely objective and has probably overestimated the number, especially in residential care centres as all those suspected of having died from the coronavirus have been included without testing.

    Red Cross Flanders will distribute mouth masks to people with a disability who live at home, Flemish minister of Welfare Wouter Beke reports.

    After the corona crisis, an economic recovery policy must be pursued, for which Belgium will need a designated government whose participating parties have a parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said.

    Flemish Minister of Culture Jambon may not close the door for the smaller festivals. For a category of smaller festivals, the National Security Council will still take a position before this extension period expires. “I certainly don't want to prejudge the facts, but I think that will be a more nuanced judgment”.

    The Brussels government announced a new single premium of EUR 2,000 euros for small Brussels businesses that are not obliged to close.

    In the Brussels region, there is an agreement in principle for the granting of an exceptional bonus to help pay rents and support the most vulnerable tenants, according to the housing committee of the Brussels parliament.

    The residential care centres and care institutions will remain closed to visitors in Flanders for the time being. Flemish Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke goes against the relaxation measure of the National Security Council. The care task force is developing a visitor plan for a later stage when people are ready for a safe visit. To address loneliness among residents, the government is now allocating EUR 375,000 to purchase tablets so they can have visual contact with family and friends. In contrast to residential care centres, people who live by themselves and who can’t move, will be allowed to receive visitors from one person. This measure will take effect soon.

    Visitors will be banned in the Brussels residential care centres until Sunday at least, says Iriscare. The organisation is also surprised by the National Security Council's communication about allowing one symptom-free confidential visitor. In the coming days, it will examine with the sector and the Regions how the new measure can be implemented in practice.

    The first 50 respirators developed by the Brussels University VUB engineers from the FabLab were released last Friday from the Audi factory in Forest. These prototypes can now be tested.

    Companies must prepare now to restart their activities after 3 May, said the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB). The FEB requests that the Group of Experts in charge of the exit strategy (GEES) quickly presents a clear strategy for getting out of confinement: “Companies that are preparing their planning for the coming weeks should know what measures to take from the start of next week.

    It is still unclear how the coastal mayors will handle summer tourism. Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein proposes to give priority to its own residents and those who have a second residence on the coast. He is even considering issuing a ‘beach pass’. Other coastal mayors want to receive tourists from only Belgium. The coastal mayors meet today at noon.

    The Brussels Regional Security Council (CORES, Conseil Régional bruxellois de Sécurité) meeting reiterated the measures related to the prohibition of ceremonies, rallies, but also the rules of social distancing during religious celebrations. CORES asks people to adapt their practices to the current situation. The Christian, Jewish and Orthodox Easter celebrations are taking place soon, as well as Ramadan which will begin around April 23. Muslim care staff and detainees can postpone their Ramadan fast, mosques will be closed.

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

  • 16 Apr 2020 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 news and data update for Thursday 16 April.

    Sciensano update of 16 April. 1,236 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 64 (5%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 34,809 confirmed cases have been reported including 3,468 (10%) in Brussels.

    In the past 24 hours, 310 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 455 people discharged from hospital. Between March 15 and April 15, 12,242 patients with COVID-19 entered hospital and 7,562 people have left.

    417 new deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours, of which 74 (18%) were in Brussels. To date a total of 4,857 COVID-19 deaths have been were reported in Belgium of which 748 (15%) were resident in Brussels.

    Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    Read a message from Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes on the extension of the COVID-19 lock-down to 3 May here.

    Read details of the extended lock-down here.

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

  • 16 Apr 2020 10:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BE-Alert: Coronavirus: measures extended until May 3

    The following message from Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès was distributed via be-alerts.be on the evening of Wednesday 15 April.


    "During the National Security Council (CNS) on Wednesday 15 April, several decisions were made. As always, these decisions are based on the advice of scientific experts.

    It was decided at this meeting of the CNS, in consultation with the Minister-Presidents, to extend the containment measures currently in force until May 3 inclusive.

    In order to make this containment extension more sustainable, we have also decided that:

    • DIY stores and garden centres will be able to reopen, under the same conditions as food stores. Safety distances must therefore apply.
    • We also allow residents of accommodation facilities - that is, nursing homes or centres for the disabled, for example - to be visited by a designated family member. This is allowed only if the resident in question has had no symptoms of the disease for two weeks. The visiting person should always be the same. Nursing homes will organize these visits. These rules will also apply to people who live alone and who cannot move.

    The basic instructions remain unchanged until May 3 and must be observed. The police will continue to ensure this.

    A new NSC will be organized next week and will aim to work out more precisely the next stage of deconfinement. Our objective is to be able to organize the gradual deconfinement for the beginning of May. Note that this will be an evolutionary process and based, as always, on the work of scientists.

    This strategy will be based on several pillars, namely safety distances, large-scale screening but also tracing, and the development of new rules to apply in the world of work.

    It is clear that wearing a mask - even a comfort mask - will also play an important role in the deconfinement strategy. A first report was sent to us by scientists and federal and regional health representatives. This tells us that, when the containment measures are gradually lifted, cloth masks will be recommended for any situation where the safety distances cannot be respected. This will notably involve national production. However, masks will not replace current hygiene measures (hand washing etc) and safety distances.

    In the short term, the NSC will decide on the analyses and proposals of the group in charge of the Exit Strategy, in particular on the adequate timing and the conditions for gradual reopening of all shops and, eventually, cafes, restaurants and bars as well as the situation regarding schools, internships and youth movements and travel. It is already a given that no mass event such as festivals can be organized before August 31 inclusive.

    Regarding the world of work, the current rules will remain in force until memoranda of understanding can be agreed and put in place, sector by sector. The objective of these protocols will be to allow companies to resume normal activity as quickly as possible, while ensuring the adequate working conditions of their employees and which will have to be adapted to the circumstances. Teleworking should continue to be favoured for some time to come."

  • 15 Apr 2020 6:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Following today's meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) Belgium's coronavirus measures, including the closure of shops and schools and a requirement to stay at home, are extended until at least 3 May. All big public events, such as festivals, are cancelled this summer until 31 August.


    Shopping is allowed in food stores, pharmacies, newsagents, pet food stores, shops selling baby products and from Monday (20 April) also in Garden Centres and DIY stores

    All non-essential shops will remain closed until 3 May as will cafes, bars and restaurants. The NSC will meet again on Friday 24 April to set out a provisional schedule for the reopening of non-essential shops, cafes and restaurants.

    Residents in care homes and elderly people living alone at home can receive one visitor - always the same person - provided the visitor show no symptoms. Visits to care homes must be booked in advance.

    Once the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, the wearing of face masks will be "advised for any situation where a contact of at least 1.5 meters cannot be kept and in places where there will be a lot of people (for example in public transport and supermarkets)".

    Any decision to reopen schools will be made next week at a national level. Possible dates for reopening are 4, 11 or 18 May. 

    More on The Bulletin website.

  • 15 Apr 2020 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 selected news snippets for Wednesday, 15 April 2020.

    Sciensano update of 15 April. 2,454 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 95 (4%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 33,573 confirmed cases have been reported across Belgium with 3,404 (10%) cases in Brussels.


    In the past 24 hours, 250 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized and 239 people left hospital. Between March 15 and April 14, 11,932 patients with COVID-19 entered hospital and 7,107 have left.

    283 new deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, of which 37 (13%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 4,440 deaths have been reported of which 674 (15%) were in Brussels.

    Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    At 14h30, the National Security Council will meet again to consider the lockdown measures. In order to limit the spread of the new coronavirus and to continue to reduce the number of infections, the measures are expected to be extended by another two weeks. The first report of the Group of Experts in charge of the Exit Strategy (GEES) was submitted to the government yesterday.

    Belgium has tripled orders for FFP2 and FFP3 mouth masks with orders for more than 113 million surgical and 49 million FFP2 / FFP3 mouth masks according to Minister Philippe De Backer

    A hopeful message from virologist Steven Van Gucht: "The figures are evolving positively," says Van Gucht. "The virus is getting tired. It is important that we now maintain our grip.” After the lockdown, mouth masks will still play an important role, says virologist Marc Van Ranst.

    The Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) has lifted the quotas on paracetamol, the sales of this drug in pharmacies now having returned to normal. However, it maintains the rule of a maximum of one box per patient.

    According to the Belgian drug agency, hydroxychloroquine can damage red blood cells.

    About a quarter of employers are postponing the payment of their social contributions due to the corona crisis.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects eurozone countries to see their economies shrink by an average of 7.3 percent this year due to the corona virus. Belgium would do slightly better, with an expected contraction of 6.9 percent.

    Contactless payments can be made up to EUR 50 from today.

    Today, the European Commission has presented its roadmap to prepare for a coordinated release from confinement. The EU wants to avoid the chaos of the beginnings of crisis management. Press release here

    Consumers whose trip has been cancelled can refuse coupons, says Didier Reynders. "It is [the] consumers' right to be reimbursed," said Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice.

    Brussels transport company STIB will start carrying messages for family and friends living in Brussels from tomorrow. Anyone can send a written or spoken message via Facebook, followed by the name and address of the person for whom the message is intended. The messages will be played through loudspeakers, while the bus drives through Brussels when in the vicinity of the recipient’s house! STIB Facebook page here.

    Mobile phone data show a considerable increase in extra-municipal trips during the Easter weekend. STIB agrees with travel numbers increased by 10 to 15% over the Easter weekend.

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

  • 14 Apr 2020 11:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 update and news snippets for Tuesday, 14 April 2020.


    Sciensano update of 14 April. 530 new confirmed cases have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 62 (12%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 31,119 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium including 3,309 (11%) cases in Brussels.

    In the past 24 hours, 242 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Belgium and 161 people left hospital. Between March 15 and April 13, 11,722 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 6,868 people have been discharged.

    262 new deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 29 (11%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 4,157 deaths have been reported of which 637 (15%) were in Brussels.

    Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    The Belgian National Security Council will meet tomorrow (15 April) to decide on future confinement measures.

    Finance Minister Alexander De Croo has granted an additional extension for the payment of corporate tax and VAT for the month of April.

    Philippe De Backer has agreed with the Regions on a series of common test rules. 121,673 tests for the coronavirus will be carried out in the Flemish residential care centres, 66,966 test kits for Wallonia and 20,702 for Brussels. The testing process will take three weeks.

    The government issued a royal decree this weekend, as part of its special powers, to "encourage" the temporary mobility of federal civil servants to meet the needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Public Service, David Clarinval.

    There is a chance that plasma from cured corona patients can heal other corona patients. A study is currently underway at the Erasmus Hospital in Rotterdam to study the effect on 440 patients.

    Farmers and horticulturalists who are looking for extra helping hands for the harvest can visit the online platform helpdeoogst.be from today.

    Both Touring and STIB notice more non-essential trips in the last four to five days. “There is clearly more traffic on the road,” says a Touring spokesperson. STIB will also adjust the timetable so that people who are forced to use public transport can also do so safely by keeping sufficient distance.

    SNCB reminds people that taking the train is not free. You have to buy a ticket. Even if the companions are no longer obliged to check the tickets.

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

  • 13 Apr 2020 1:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Virtual Brussels Folk Club project is the brainchild of John Smillie and his stalwart team who invited a merry band of BFC performers to submit material at very short notice. Special thanks to Olivier Buckley’s father, David, for stitching this together and doing some editing.


    As John says: "It isn’t perfect. This has been a steep learning curve, against the clock. There is a lip sync issue with all my introductions and some of the performances. However, we don’t know how to fix this and a lot of work has gone into it to get it to this point, and so what we cannot fix, we live with."

    Many of his closest friends admit that John’s lips often start to move before his brain has properly engaged. So no change there, then.

    John also points out that he was recorded using a Huawei phone, and all data needs to go to Beijing, and then GCHQ, for approval before release which may also account for the digital delay and sync issues.

    In any case, he and the team are proud to bring you the first ever Virtual Brussels Folk Club.

    John says: "If we ever do another, we will make the “shows” shorter, perhaps 30 minutes total. However, it has been interesting and hopefully people will accept it in the spirit in which it has been made." We look forward to it!

    We wish you all a safe, sane and musical Happy Easter!

  • 13 Apr 2020 1:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 selected news snippets for Easter Monday, 13 April 2020.

    Sciensano update of 13 April. 942 new confirmed cases have been reported in the last 24 hours of which 113 (12%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 30,589 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 3,247 (11%) cases being in Brussels.

    In the past 24 hours, 310 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized and 239 people left hospital. Between March 15 and April 12, 11,480 patients with COVID-19 have entered the hospital and 6,707 have left hospital.

    303 new deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours with 29 (10%) of these in Brussels. To date, a total of 3,903 deaths have been reported in Belgium with 608 (16%) in Brussels.

    In terms of the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and those in intensive care, the daily numbers have clearly ‘plateaued’ and are, hopefully, on a slow decline (see below).


    Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    Bruxelles-Propreté has announced that from today (13 April) collections of blue and yellow rubbish bags will recommence.

    Following further reorganisation of collections, taking into account lock-down constraints, Bruxelles-Propreté will be able to collect most of the blue and yellow bags again. Collections will be on the usual days for collection, but may be later in the day than usual. More information here.

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

  • 11 Apr 2020 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 selected news for Saturday, 11 April 2020.


    Sciensano update of 11 April. 1,351 new confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium in the past 24 hours of which 149 (11%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 28,018 confirmed cases have been reported with 2,991 (11%) of these being in Brussels.

    In the past 24 hours, 421 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized and 418 people left hospital. Between March 15 and April 10, a total of 10,777 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 5,986 people have left.

    327 new deaths have been reported in Belgium in the past 24 hours, of which 70 (21%) were in the Brussels region. To date, a total of 3,346 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported including 538 (16%) in Brussels.

    Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

  • 10 Apr 2020 12:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COVID-19 selected news snippets and two infographics for Good Friday, 10 April 2020.

    Sciensano update of 10 April. 1,684 new confirmed cases have been reported in the past 24 hours, of which 178 (11%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 26,667 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium including 2,842 (11%) cases in Brussels. In the past 24 hours, 462 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalized and 404 people left the hospital. Between March 15 and April 9, 10,356 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 5,568 people have left. 325 new deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours with 58 (18%) of these being in Brussels. To date, a total of 3,019 deaths have been reported in Belgium of which 468 (16%) were in Brussels. Read the full daily report (in French) here.

    Our first infographic is from those good people at PintofScience Belgium who have collated on one infographic a range of initiatives in Brussels supporting efforts to combat COVID-19 that you can volunteer with or donate to. You can download a hi-res version here which has clickable links.


    The second infographic is from Compound Interest and gives you some useful information on how current and future tests for COVID-19 work and related issues.


    Happy Easter!

    Useful Links

    Federal Government COVID-19 information

    The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

Upcoming events

To contact us - Please Email to BBCA.Contact@gmail.com

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software