Brussels Orders Closure Of Bars, Cafes To Curb COVID-19 Spikes

Minister-President of Brussels region Rudi Vervoort gestures as he gives a press conference after a meeting of the actors of the Brussels region to discuss tighter measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, at Brussels City Hall in Brussels on October 7, 2020. – (Photo by THIERRY ROGE / BELGA / AFP) / Belgium OUT

The Belgian capital took a step towards restoring its coronavirus lockdown Wednesday when Brussels ordered cafes and bars to close for a month.

Restaurants serving meals at table will remain open, but bars and drinking alcohol in public places will be banned until November 8, the regional government said.

This is the second time Brussels has imposed such a measure since the coronavirus outbreak after a previous lockdown helped bring cases down.

But new infections — as well as serious cases involving hospital admissions — are rising again, and regional authorities are tightening rules.

Already, Belgium’s new national government had ordered bars and cafes should close from 11 pm, but regional president Rudi Vervoort decided this was not enough.

The Brussels capital region is home to a densely packed 1.2 million people and is the seat of the Belgian government and of both NATO and the European Union.

In the past week, Belgium as a whole has recorded an average of 2,500 new coronavirus infections per day, up by 57 percent over the previous seven days.

Hospital admissions are also up 25.7 percent over the week, and more than 11 people are dying every day.

With 10,092 deaths from a population of 11.2 million, Belgium is one of the worst-hit countries.


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