27 September 2020: According to yesterday’s figures an average of 1,540.7 people per day tested positive for Covid-19 in Belgium during the past week. The trend of new infections per day increased by 40% over the 7-day period from 16 to 22 September. On Monday 21 September, the last complete daily figure available, 2,165 new infections were recorded. In total, 620 patients are currently in hospital. Of those patients, 109 are in intensive care. Belgium is still a yellow zone today, but certain places – like Brussels – are red. And stricter measures are in order. Nevertheless, the general face mask obligation – which was abolished during the most recent meeting of the national security council – will not be reinstated. However, having a mask with you when going out in public will be required. Understand who can but it is clear that Brussels needs to urgently implement stricter measures to keep up with the spread of the coronavirus in the region – Brussels, Belgium
26 September 2020: Update on the Corona Pandemic – Belgian Universities Displeased With The Government
26 September 2020: Whilst Storm Odette is sweeping across the country - at the coast, gusts of wind up to 110 km/hour are causing damage and nuisance on a larger scale – Belgian virologists are creating their own storm. They decided to go on a “silent strike” against the relaxed rules the government announced earlier this week. They will not give interviews until at least Monday, and instead refer to the politicians for additional explanations. They argue that as the figures continue to go up it is certainly not the time to loosen the rulesand that politicians now should be held accountable to explain their decision in the media. Also, all universities expressed their displeasure with the government’s decision to loosen the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The struggle of science versus politics is no brand news. On display is a mural of the internationally praised street artist ROA on the façade of the Ghent University Museum. The brand-new science museum acts as a canvas for a magnificent pile of skeletons, including that of an elephant, a rhinoceros, a grizzly bear and an okapi. Net-net, a mural that is as confusing as the many opinions that are out there on how to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. – Campus Ledeganck, University of Ghent, Belgium.
25 September 2020: Update on the Corona Pandemic - What Are The Chances That We Are Landing On Both Feet?
24 September 2020: The second wave of coronavirus infections gathers momentum across Europe. Belgium is recording a daily average of over 1,400 coronavirus infections over the past week, as well as a rising number of patients admitted to hospital every day.The evolution of the health situation in our country is definitely not favourable. At times that it’s key that the messaging from the government is clear, concise and consistent we’ve seen just the opposite. The day after the National Security Council announced relaxed coronavirus measures in Belgium, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said that it was likely that extra restrictions would be implemented soon, universities have asked its students to ignore the relaxation of the coronavirus rules and virologist are openly criticizing the government’s guidelines. If we continue like this, the chances that Belgium pulls itself out of this second wave without a major healthcare and economic crisis is lower than this skateboarder is landing on both feet – Ghent, Belgium
24 September 2020: Update on the Corona Pandemic - Ghent is capping the size of crowds allowed into popular student neighbourhood
24 September 2020: Belgium has turned red on the European coronavirus map, meaning over 120 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants were recorded in the last two weeks. In attempt to drive compliance to the rules to curb the spread of the pandemic, the government announced yesterday an update of the measures that are currently in place. The new simplified rules will become effective from 1 October. The key highlights are: (1) everyone is allowed to have close contact with maximum 5 other people - close contact meaning, being physically close to someone who does not live under the same roof, for more than 15 minutes, without keeping a distance and without a facemask, and (2) face masks will only be mandatory in crowded places, as well as in shops and on public transport. Despite the worrying development of the number of coronavirus infections throngs of students continue to pack the Overpoortstraat, a popular student neighbourhood in the city, crowding bar terraces and sidewalks with many flouting social distancing rules. Earlier this week, the mayor of Ghent already capped the size of crowds allowed into the street, bars have sprawled their terraces onto the sidewalk in an effort to provide more space for clients to social distance and visible police patrols are driving enforcement of the rules. I’m wondering if all of this will be enough to stop the spread of the virus - Overpoortstraat, Ghent, Belgium
23 September 2020: For obvious reasons, I’m also closely monitoring the Dutch corona situation. Here is some worrying news that caught my attention. Dutch celebrities and influencers started an action on Instagram against the government's coronavirus policy. They pose a number of questions in their posts: "What is the use of non-medical masks and the 1.5 meter?” and announced that they will no longer take part in this policy until there is "clarity, fairness and transparency". The celebrities started their action at a time when the number of Covid-19 infections in the Netherlands are rising alarmingly: yesterday 2,223 new corona infection have been reported. The action elicited mixed reactions. Some followers are supporting the celebrities. Luckily the majority of the Dutch population is very critical of this incomprehensible and irresponsible action – Volendam, The Netherlands
22 September 2020: The Belgian average of people testing positive for Covid-19 rises to almost 1,200 during the past week. In the Netherlands the situation is even worse. For the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis, our neighbors recorded over 2,200 new infections in a single day. Against the background of this worrying development I decided to stay put at home and blow bubbles in the garden…:-) - Ghent, Belgium
21 September 2020: Update on the Corona Pandemic - Wearing Face Masks Is Becoming Part Of The "New Normal"
21 September 2020: An average of 1,107 people per day tested positive for the coronavirus Covid-19 in Belgium during the past week, according to the latest figures. The good news is that we are seeing a light slowing down of the recent upward trend. In total, 417 patients are currently in hospital. Of those patients, 78 are in intensive care. Belgium’s reproduction number is currently 1.36 and is slightly lower than yesterday’s 1.4. Despite surveys show an increased non-compliance with the containment measures and newspapers are reporting various rave parties I believe that the majority of the people comply with the rules to contain the spread of the virus. As a minimum everyone is wearing face masks, or something else covering both mouth and nose such as a scarf or a bandana on public transportation; it became part of the “new normal” – Coastal Tram, De Haan, Belgium
20 September 2020: Europe's weekly diagnosed COVID-19 infections are now higher than the first coronavirus peak in March, the WHO announced yesterday. Today in September is not yesterday in February - we are far better equipped to deal with the virus and those who contracted it. Nevertheless, we have a serious situation unfolding before us. Therefore, governments in Belgium and all of its neighboring countries are urging their citizens to fight back against "COVID-19 fatigue" as everywhere people grow increasingly frustrated with measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing and lockdowns that have been used to combat the spread of the deadly virus. I’m staying put in Ghent enjoying some great cityscapes…:-) Ghent, Belgium.
Belgium has turned dark orange again on the updated European coronavirus map, meaning over 60 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants were recorded in the last two weeks. This makes Belgium the 7th most affected country in Europe. Spain is by far the country with the highest number of infections in relation to its population, with 292 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. It is followed by France (172 cases), the Czech Republic (166 cases), Luxembourg (130 cases), Malta (127 cases) and Hungary (94 cases). The Netherlands (90 cases) comes after Belgium. One of the side effects of the corona crisis is that the demand of French fries has slumped as a consequence of restaurants being closed and the cancellation of the many festivals. Belgian farmers are now facing a surplus of some 750,000 tonnes of crop that risks being destroyed. Belgapom, the professional association of potato farmers is now calling on us to make up for the shortfall by eating fries twice a week… I guess that every cloud has its silver lining – Brussels, Belgium
For many of us who have to move around Europe on a weekly basis, the cacophony of national rules to fight the coronavirus pandemic makes things very complicated. We need things to be made simpler! Therefore, I’m welcoming the European Commission’s attempt to untangle the web of different travel restrictions in the European Union. Member States currently use different criteria for imposing travel restrictions, but the Commission would like them to base future decisions on common thresholds that take into account the recent number of infections, the percentage of positive tests and the total number of tests carried out. According to the proposal national authorities must send this data to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which will then publish a map with common color codes every week. An area of high coronavirus circulation colored red on the European map will then be automatically colored red for all Member States. Green zones should not be subject to travel restrictions. It remains to be seen to what extent the various countries will accept these recommendations. Let’s hope that common sense will prevail – Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, Germany.
"Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with how you see them."
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