Belgium enters into new four-week COVID-19 lockdown

 Friday, March 26, 2021 


Belgium has decided that the country will go into four weeks of Easter lockdown, starting Saturday, March 27, 2021 amid rise in new COVID-19 cases. The strict new rules have been established to contain the new variant of coronavirus. Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that the (corona) consultation committee decided to choose for the short pain as the country want to squash the third wave.

He informed that the British variant is now the dominant variant in Belgium, and the virus circulation is the highest in four months. He also mentioned that the highest number of infections can be found at the age group from 10-19 years old, who infect their parents, and often their grandparents. He shared that it is difficult to take such a decision, and for many it will be a deception but said that he believes the country will break the third wave. According to the new measures, Non-essential travel outside the country will continue to be banned, and more border controls will be established during the Easter holiday weeks.

However, non-essential travel within the country will be allowed. The existing 10PM to 5AM curfew in Brussels will remain in action, as will the 12PM until 5AM one in the rest of the country. Earlier this month, it was decided that people will be allowed to meet 10 others outdoors but the number has been reduced back to four people. Primary and secondary schools, as well as universities, will have to close until April 19. Hairdressers, beauty salons and massage salons will have to close their doors once again.

Non-essential shops will remain open, but shopping can be done only after booking an appointment. The number of customers stores can accommodate depends on their size, but the maximum occupancy will be reduced to 50 people for larger stores. Teleworking will continue to be mandatory. The provincial governor of West Flanders and the mayors of Ostend and Blankenberge have agreed with the NMBS rail service on measures to avoid crowds on the trains to the coast during the coming Easter holidays.

Prime Minister De Croo also announced that all people over 65 should be vaccinated by the end of March, saying that hospitalisation and mortality numbers showed that vaccinating works. A total of 22,763 people has died from coronavirus-related causes in Belgium, which was among the countries hit hardest when the pandemic emerged last year. About 1 million of Belgium’s 11.5 million residents have already received a first vaccine dose. Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said a recent sharp increase of COVID-19 patients in Belgium’s intensive care units was worrying and shared that contacts need to limited in order to curb the spread.

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