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De Lijn moves out of Brussels North Station again
Flemish transport operator De Lijn has again announced that its buses will stop serving Brussels North Station, citing safety and hygiene concerns due to the migrants staying there.
Three unions representing bus drivers have agreed to no longer use the underground bus station. "It's going from bad to worse," said Rita Coec from the ACOD union. About 30 bus routes are affected.
De Lijn buses from Leuven and Haacht will stop at Place Rogier from Monday. Buses from Aalst will turn around at Simonis and lines from Grimbergen, Wemmel, Puurs and Meise will make Bockstael their new terminus.
Pierre Verbeeren, director of the Belgian division of Médecins du Monde, said the migrants posed no threat to public health - and the number of suspected cases of scabies and tuberculosis among migrants sleeping in the underground bus station was in decline.
He added: "The number of cases can be counted on the fingers of one hand. We are carrying out regular monitoring. There is nothing alarming - but what is sure is that the general condition of these people is deteriorating."
When De Lijn last pulled out of North Station in November 2018, it attracted complaints from police because the buses parked in the middle of Rue du Progrès, blocking the central lane.
Bernard Clerfayt, mayor of Schaerbeek, said: "As long as the federal government does not assume its responsibilities, we will keep going round in circles. We have been asking for two years for a reception centre to take care of these people."
Federal migration minister Maggie De Block said: "We are ready to contribute to a solution, but this can only be done if everyone collaborates and stops blaming each other."