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The recognition of Covid 19 as an occupational disease now extends to workers in critical sectors or essential services during containment.
This specifically concerns those who could not telework or respect the social distance of 1.5 metres due to the nature of their function. In addition to employees in food stores, for example, this extension would apply to many federal civil servants: police officers, prison officers, civil defence or customs officers.
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”.
Similar measures are already in place for volunteer firefighters and ambulance drivers in rescue areas, employees in the voluntary sector and students. “In this way, we are providing better social protection for all those who are on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus. In the future, I would also like to provide a system for the self-employed. This is part of the single status that I want to achieve”, explains Maggie de Block, Minister for Social Affairs.