– Belgium, New stricter measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19

The Belgian National Security Council has drawn up a raft of new measures in order to try and help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The measures come on top of those that came into force at midnight on Friday. Both the new measures that will come into force from noon on Wednesday and the measures decided on at the end of last week will be applicable until Sunday 5 April.

Brussel – Brussel Capital Region – Belgium, 17 March 2020. The measures were announced by the Federal Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (Francophone – liberal). The National Security Council’s decision to take further measure was based on scientific advice and with the agreement of the Federal Government and the governments of the Belgium regions and language communities.

Prime Minister Wilmès took the opportunity to thank those Belgians that had behaved responsibly and had respected measures taken thus far.

“Stay at home” is the watchword. Nevertheless, going outside to take exercise (walking, cycling) is allowed and even encouraged. However, you will only be allowed to do this in the company of more than 1 friend or family member.

All gatherings of more than two people that are not members of the same (nuclear) family are banned.

Teleworking and social distancing

Employers will be obliged to tell their employees to work from home wherever possible. If this is not possible they must ensure that those working for them are able to conform to the guidelines on social distancing.

Any company or organisation that fails to do this will be subject to a hefty fine. Repeat offenders will be closed down.

What will still be open?

You will still be allowed to go about your essential business.

Food stores (butchers, bakers, greengrocers, fishmongers), supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open.

This is also the case for newsagents (except on Saturdays).

Bank and post offices will remain open.

You will also be able to leave you home in order to go and visit your doctor or dentist.

Petrol stations will also remain open.

Night shops will have to close at 10pm.

Café and bars will be obliged to take inside their pavement terrace furniture.

Supermarkets and other food shops will have to limit the number of customers to 1 per 10m² of floor space at any one time. They must ensure that their staff can maintain social distancing between themselves, their colleagues and their customers.

All markets will be cancelled up to and including 5 April.

Non-essential foreign travel banned [bold]

Prime Minster Wilmès also announced that all non-essential foreign travel will be banned until 5 April. For those still using public transport, the public transport companies NMBS, De Lijn, MIVB and TEC must ensure that their passengers (and staff) can maintain social distancing while using their services.

Ms Wilmès concluded by saying that technology can help us keep in touch and that physical social distancing should mean that we all drift apart.

“Look after yourself and those close to you”, the Prime Minister said.

The Tribune – Haryana and Punjab refuse to budge on SYL: Government to Rajya Sabha

Ravi S Singh – Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 16 March 2020. The government informed the Rajya Sabha today that in a follow-up to the Supreme Court’s directive, it tried to mediate between the governments of Haryana and Punjab to thrash out a mutually acceptable solution to the ticklish Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, but failed.

Responding to a supplementary by Congress member Kumari Selja, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the two states refused to arrive on a “middle ground”.

“We have apprised the Supreme Court, which had asked the Centre to explore for a middle ground between the two states,” Shekhawat said.

The minister’s statement was in response to a pointed question by Selja as to what steps the government was taking with regard to the SYL canal, which was meant to provide water to presently parched areas of south Haryana, where ground water had depleted.

He said that the National Green Tribunal had ordered that drinking water supply should be provided to a village in Rewari district in the matter of Raghunath Singh versus Union of India and others.

As reported by the Public Health Engineering Department, Haryana, drinking water supply had been provided to Chirhara village in Rewari district through a tube well installed near the Jalalpur distributor, the minister stated.

He said the Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water Department had jointly carried out estimation of the Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India. As per the assessment, total annual ground water recharge of Rewari district had been assessed to be 42,7000 hectare metre (ham) and annual extractable ground water resources 38,430 ham.

The total current annual ground water extraction was 35,079 ham, 29,559 ham for irrigation, 5,156 ham for domestic use and 364 ham for industrial use.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Gurdwara Gent – Gent-Sint-Pieter – Brussel Centraal

07 February 2020

IC train to Mechelen and Leuven

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
08 February 2020

The langar area with the pictures of Sikh Shahids (martelaren)

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
08 February 2020

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara

Kortrijksepoortstraat 49B
9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Gent-Sint-Pieters & Brussel Centraal
10 February 2020

I presume that this is a Brugge Blankenberge train

This train just arrived in Gent-Sint-Pieters
No Boarding

Brussel Centraal

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Hindustan Times – COVID-19 outbreak: Golden Temple won’t be closed, devotees to be screened from today

Medical staff of SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital along with teams of the health department will carry out the screening at one of the most visited religions shrines in the world.

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 17 March 2020. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday said the Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib) will not be closed for pilgrims in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and devotees will be screened from Wednesday at the entrances of the shrine with the help of the Punjab health department.

After a meeting with Amritsar deputy commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon, police commissioner Sukhchain Singh Gill and civil surgeon Dr Prabhdeep Kaur Johal, SGPC senior vice-president Rajinder Singh Mehta said special arrangements will be made at the main entrances of the shrine for proper checking of devotees.

Medical staff of SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital along with teams of the health department will carry out the screening at one of the most visited religions shrines in the world.

An SGPC office-bearer privy to the proceedings of the meeting said the devotees will be allowed to enter from two points, Ghanta Ghar (main entrance) and Manji Sahib Diwan Hall for smooth checking.

If the shrine would be closed for devotees like major worship places of other faiths, Mehta said, “Followers of all faiths offer prayers at the Golden Temple. It was not shut even during the worst times.

It remained open even when Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked it and during the Operation Bluestar. There is no such need because precaution is the best method to cotain the virus.”

SGPC staff to provide sanitiser to devotees

The SGPC has deployed its employees at the entrances to provide the devotees hand sanitisers. The staff will request the devotees to maintain certain distance from each others. Announcement for taking precautions will be made at the Parkarma.

Also, a dispensary will be set at the main entrance for on-the-spot medical check-up of ailing devotees. Two ambulances will being stationed for an emergency situation, an SGPC official said.

The Hindu – CPI(M) slams ‘horse-trading’ for toppling elected governments

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 16 March 2020. The party said Union Home minister Amit Shah’s statement in Parliament that nobody would be marked as a doubtful citizen in the NPR updation process was of no consequence as long as the Rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act-2003 remained.

In light of the developments in Madhya Pradesh, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Polit Bureau has denounced the “brazen horse-trading and the use of threats” to enforce defections of MLAs to topple democratically-elected governments and violate the people’s mandate.

“Earlier too, in Karnataka and elsewhere, similar tactics betrayed the people’s mandate in the States,” the CPI(M) said in a statement on Monday, following a meeting of its Polit Bureau on March 14-15.

“These are anti-democratic acts which make a mockery of popular verdict of the people and democracy,” the Left party added.

Coronavirus awareness

The party called upon its cadre to create public awareness on the precautions that need to be adopted for containing the coronavirus pandemic. The Polit Bureau commended the Kerala government’s efforts in arresting the spread.

It also criticised the Centre for the partial modification of an order that earlier had envisaged providing compensation to families which have lost a member to the virus and for the cost of treatment of positive cases.

“This has to be reversed immediately,” said the party, which also demanded that the government provide assistance to workers in the informal/organised sectors who may have lost jobs due to the epidemic-triggered shutdowns.

The CPI(M) said Union Home minister Amit Shah’s statement in Parliament that nobody would be marked as a doubtful citizen in the NPR updation process was of no consequence as long as the Rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act-2003 remained.

Demanding that these norms be scrapped, the party said, “Unless these measures are undertaken by the government of India, the peaceful protests will continue”.

Delhi violence

The party also condemned the recent communal violence in Delhi and sought a time-bound, court-monitored probe for bringing the guilty to justice. It also condemned the Home minister’s statement on the use of facial recognition technology to identify those involved.

“The government, itself, has admitted before the courts that this technology had an accuracy rate of only 2% in 2018, which dropped to a mere 1% in 2019. This opens up possibilities for harassment and persecution of innocent people. Moreover, there is no legal framework or any judicial order to use such technology for such identification,” it said.

For relief to the victims, the party had collected more than Rs 6 crore, with the Kerala State committee having raised more than Rs 5.3 crore.

Jammu & Kashmir [bold]

Welcoming the release of MP Farooq Abdullah after seven months of detention, the Polit Bureau demanded the immediate release of all those detained from the night of August 4/5, 2019. “J&K Statehood with special status, as it had [been] under the Indian Constitution, must be restored immediately,” it said.

The Polit Bureau also discussed the “collapse” of Yes Bank and observed that “in a classic instance of privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses, the State Bank of India has been asked to bailout this bank”.