18:21 GMT04 December 2020
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    Coronavirus Pandemic: Borders Shut, Public Events Cancelled (257)
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The Belgian government is preparing for an unemployment spike with some one million people losing jobs as a result of the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Belgian media reported, citing Minister of Employment Nathalie Muylle.

    The Sudinfo news outlet said that half a million people have already lost jobs and an approximate one million Belgians in total might end up unemployed as the nation struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    Many companies went out of business temporarily as part of an effort to contain the pandemic, prompting a sharp upward increase of unemployment rates. The Belgian government in this regard has pledged to facilitate unemployment application procedures.

    "The application for temporarily unemployment benefits has been changed to not last more than three to four weeks", Muylle was quoted as saying.

    The news outlet further cited her as saying that a one billion euro fund ($1.07 billion) had been allotted to pay the unemployment benefits and as much to support the self-employed people facing coronavirus-related disruptions.

    As part of an attempt to get the EU member states to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus in a coordinated manner, the European Commission has proposed a set of measures ranging from emergency loans to state-sponsored support of small and medium-sized businesses. European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, in particular, has urged for the acceleration of the European unemployment reinsurance scheme that is expected to help member states save jobs amid the crisis.

    Belgium's COVID-19 count is approaching the 2,000 mark with almost two dozen people dead and just one recovered.

    Coronavirus Pandemic: Borders Shut, Public Events Cancelled (257)
    economic crisis, jobs, unemployment, Belgium, coronavirus, COVID-19
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