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Coronavirus: 13 Belgian cases confirmed, some rubbish collectors strike over contamination fears

10:55 03/03/2020

Belgium confirmed five more cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 13.

The five positive results were in a batch of 243 tests carried out overnight by the lab at KU Leuven.

Two of Tuesday's confirmed cases were in Flanders, one in Brussels and two in Wallonia.

They had all recently returned from northern Italy and are receiving the necessary care in a secure environment, the government said.

The authorities are tracking down people who have been in contact with the infected patients since their return, who will in turn be tested for the virus.

On Monday, six cases in Belgium were announced - again, all from northern Italy. At the weekend, a woman who had returned to Belgium from France was quarantined at Antwerp university hospital after testing positive for the virus.

The first coronavirus patient in Belgium returned from China in early February and is now clear of the virus.

In other news, about 40 rubbish collectors at the Bruxelles Propreté depot in Neder-Over-Heembeek refused to carry out their rounds this morning, citing "fear of being contaminated".

According to RTL, their complaints include a shortage of disinfectant gel - and other concerns not related to coronavirus, including holiday entitlement.

Michel Piersoul, from the SLFP trade union, said the strike action was unexpected.

"We do not really understand," he said. "It doesn't make sense. They are in a vehicle - they have less chance of catching the virus than people who work in shopping centres, restaurants or offices."

Authorities in Brussels have said large-scale public events can go ahead as normal, including the Batibouw home show at Brussels Expo.

Some European cities have cancelled large gatherings, such as Paris, where events for more than 5,000 people have been cancelled.

“We are not in denial," said Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort. "But the situation in Belgium at the moment does not require other measures. If we go too far, it is hard to go back."

Belgium has an official website, in four languages, that is regularly updated with frequently asked questions about coronavirus. See www.info-coronavirus.be

Written by The Bulletin

Comments

Anon3

So officials in France and other countries are taking a proactive approach and apparently those in Belgium prefer to be reactive.

Mar 4, 2020 11:52
Anon3

Update: 50 cases now detected in Belgium. Maggie is going to be angry again because Wallonie is taking action.

Mar 5, 2020 17:29
Anon3 Mar 6, 2020 12:38