New-born found in Antwerp paper bag

A new-born baby has been found in a paper bag in the entrance of an Antwerp block of flats.

It was Tuesday afternoon when the cleaning lady discovered the foundling wrapped in a blanket in the paper bag.  The baby was rushed to hospital for treatment and is doing fine.

Willem Migom of Antwerp police: "The cleaning lady had the immediate reflex of calling the emergency services.  She played a crucial role in this tale."

Local police are doing a door-to-doors in a bid to identify the mother.  They are also looking for CCTV footage and witnesses.  The new-born was either born on Monday or Tuesday.

The Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, has been appointed as the child's guardian.  This is an automatic procedure as he is the president of the local council.  A foster family or child welfare centre will be sought to take care of the infant.

Abandoning a child "in a state of need" is punishable by law, though prosecutions are rare.  Parents risk up to 3 years in jail, if found guilty. No prosecutions follow if babies are left in a “baby hatch” operated by organisations like Mothers For Mothers as this is judged to be a safe environment.

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