Belgium Tightens Restrictions To Beat Third Virus Wave

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File photo used to illustrate the story: Nurses push a patient on a stretcher into the ‘Clinique CHC MontLegia’ building, part of the relocation of the ‘Clinique Saint-Joseph’ hospital in Liege as the country battles against the Covid-19 outbreak. PHOTO: BRUNO FAHY /AFP

Belgium announced on Wednesday a renewed partial lockdown of four weeks, with schools closed and non-essential stores open to customers by appointment only.

The decision came as a potential third wave of the coronavirus was gaining momentum in the EU country of 11.5 million, with hospitalisations on the rise.

The pandemic “is a big lesson in humility for politicians, for everyone,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in announcing the measures.

The measures will begin on Saturday and the intention remains to fully reopen the schools and ease the restrictions on April 19.

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Businesses with close contact with customers — mainly hairdressers, tattoo parlours, and beauty shops — will be shut at least until that date.

In the new rules, the “outside bubble”, the maximum number of people with which you are allowed to be in public, will be reduced from 10 to four.

The school closure will begin a week ahead of a two-week Easter holiday, with the government trying to limit the impact on parents.

With Belgium already subject to a night curfew, a work-from-home edict and a general travel ban into and out of the country, the blame was put on the spread of the UK variant of the virus, which is more contagious and can have more severe effects.

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