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Belgium - Recognition of Covid-19 as an occupational disease extended to workers in essential services

Covid 19 is currently already recognised as an occupational disease for workers in the healthcare sector. This recognition is now extended to those who were active in one of the crucial sectors or services during containment, such as food store personnel or the police. These are specifically workers who were unable to telework or respect the social distance of 1.5 meters due to the nature of their job, and a number of public services are covered.

The system had already previously been extended to volunteer firefighters and paramedics in rescue zones and a special Covid 19 fund for volunteers, volunteer firefighters, and students had been initiated. The government has issued an order of special powers. It provides for the addition of a new code (1.404.04) to the list of occupational diseases. Thus, any person suffering from Covid 19, “diagnosed by a laboratory test, and clearly having a higher risk of being contaminated by the virus, may claim compensation for occupational disease”.

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