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Belgium Braces for COVID 'Freedom Convoy'


Belgian police officers patrol outside the EU institutions buildings ahead of a potential protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions called "Convoi Europeen de la Liberte 2022" ("European Freedom Convoy 2022"), in Brussels, Feb. 14, 2022.

Belgium is bracing Monday as a “freedom convoy” of protesters heads to the capital to demonstrate against COVID-related regulations. Officials have, however, banned, motorized protests in Brussels and have set up checkpoints along Belgium’s borders.

Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s prime minister, said, “We never had rules that were too hard and we don’t have so many anymore. So, complain at home.”

In Hong Kong, leader Carrie Lam said Monday, “The onslaught of the fifth wave of the epidemic has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong and overwhelmed the city’s capacity of handling.” She added that, “The situation is highly undesirable and the government feels worried and sorry about it.”

According to Reuters, Hong Kong had a daily infection rate of about 100 at the beginning of February, but that has now ballooned to about 1,300 daily cases and is expected to increase.

Lam said in a statement that Hong Kong will work with China to fight the “aggravating situation.”

A report in The Washington Post says that President Joe Biden’s plan to ship 500 million free COVID tests to Americans, or 4 tests per household, “shortchanges Americans of color and hardest-hit communities.”

“Every time we roll out a plan, why can’t we put them to the front?” Myron Quon, executive director of the Pacific Asian Counseling Services, an organization in Los Angeles, told The Post. He said the four tests for families in vulnerable communities “is just not sufficient. Not even close. They’ll have to ration.”

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Monday that there are nearly 412 million global COVID cases and almost 6 million global deaths. Over 10 billion vaccines have been administered, according to the center.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.

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