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Belgium postpones decision on easing coronavirus restrictions
Belgium's federal and regional governments have decided to wait a week before deciding on a potential easing of the country's coronavirus restrictions.
The consultative committee - which brings together representatives from Belgium's different levels of government - met on Friday afternoon and decided to postpone its decision on relaxing the current measures.
"We had been in a plateau for weeks," said prime minister Alexander De Croo. "And now we're seeing a strong increase in hospital admissions - there were almost 200 yesterday. We have to be very prudent."
He added: "With these uncertain figures, we cannot ease the measures that are currently in place. It would be irresponsible - it would be a bad decision to do so now."
De Croo said a one-week "timeout" would allow a better overview of how the coronavirus situation is developing in Belgium.
"I know it's a cold shower," he said. "I would have liked to have announced something different today. We need to wait a little more."
However, De Croo said there was light at the end of the tunnel - a "spring of freedom, with the opening of cafe terraces, sport, enjoying culture together. This moment is not far away."