In Belgium, the National Security Council (CNS) was summoned urgently on Monday in view of the increase in the number of detected cases of Covid-19 and particularly in the province of Antwerp. Faced with this situation, the country announced on Monday a further tightening of measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. For Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, the objective is to consider “additional national measures to avoid generalized re-containment”.
From Wednesday, the number of people Belgians are allowed to see as part of their "contact bubble" goes from 15 to 5 people for the next four weeks. Previously, these social bubbles could change from week to week lately, now they will be fixed to the same five people.
Public events will be limited to 100 people indoors (instead of 200) and 200 outdoors (instead of 400) and masks will be compulsory. Teleworking is "strongly recommended when possible", continued Sophie Wilmès, regretting that it is "less and less used". Belgians are also invited to do their shopping alone and limit them to 30 minutes.
On average, 279 people per day contracted an infection with Covid-19 in Belgium during the last week, compared to 163 the previous week. The situation is particularly problematic in the province of Antwerp, which recorded 47% of new infections last week. The Prime Minister expressed in particular "serious concerns" about "a major epidemiological conflagration".
Reinforced measures had already come into force on Saturday, in particular the compulsory wearing of a mask in places with high traffic (markets, flea markets, shopping streets, hotels…). The mask has been compulsory since July 11 in public transport, shops, cinemas, places of worship, museums and libraries. If the wearing of a mask is not required in a generalized way, it is obligatory in “many situations”, underlined the Prime Minister.
The country had 66,026 cases listed since the start of the pandemic and 9,821 deaths on Monday. Belgium is one of the countries with the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 compared to its population, with 85 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
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