Belgium riot police fired tear gas and used water cannons Sunday against protesters marching in Brussels against COVID-19 restrictions and the recent change to the country’s "COVID Safe" pass that is required to get into places like bars and cinemas.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced this past week that starting March 1, the initial vaccine series would only be valid for five months with the "Safe" pass, requiring booster shots after five months to keep it up to date. However, the pass would be valid with a negative test or recent infection, he added.
One woman who attended the protest said the pass gives a false sense of security.
"I work with elderly people and they say ‘oh I’m gonna go to that event because it’s safe because there’s a COVID safe ticket’. And then they are sick, the next week they are sick, from COVID," Anneleen De Klerck said.
The change to Belgium’s COVID-19 pass was announced Friday alongside a slight easing of restrictions. According to De Croo, the country’s vaccination rate sits at 89 per cent of adults fully vaccinated, with 67 per cent having taken a booster shot. Of the total population eligible, 77 per cent are fully vaccinated, with 53 per cent having had a booster dose.
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