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Belgium strengthens coronavirus restrictions for next four weeks

16:04 27/07/2020

Belgium has tightened its coronavirus measures for at least the next four weeks, with new limits on social contacts and events, after a 71% surge in new infections in the past week.

Prime minister Sophie Wilmès said the new restrictions were "very strong" - but were aimed at avoiding the introduction of a new stay-at-home order.

From 29 July, for four weeks minimum, social contacts must be limited to five people. This limit is per-household and no longer per-person - and the five people must remain the same for the whole four weeks. Children under 12 do not count towards the five-person limit.

"These are personal contacts with whom safety distances might not always be guaranteed," Wilmès said. "If you come into contact with people who are not part of this new social bubble, you must always respect the safety distances and it is recommended that you wear a mask."

Private events, such as family get-togethers and weddings, will be limited to 10 people. This figure includes the members of your household but, again, children under 12 are not counted.

The maximum audience at organised events has been halved. From Wednesday, it will be 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. Masks will be compulsory at all events.

Local authorities have been urged to thoroughly check that events abide by the rules and, if in doubt, they should be cancelled.

Shopping must be done alone again, unless accompanying children or a vulnerable person. The maximum shopping time of 30 minutes has also been reintroduced.

The requirement to collect contact details, currently applied by restaurants and cafes, will be extended to other venues such as sports clubs, hairdressers and beauty salons. The full list of applicable venues will be published shortly.

"The measures taken today are very strong. We need time to observe their effect. We ask for your patience," Wilmès said.

"These measures will be difficult to accept, but they have been made to avoid a lockdown. That is a situation that we absolutely want to avoid."

The restrictions announced today apply nationally. Other more localised measures are expected to be announced in due course, notably in Antwerp province, where the highest number of new infections has been recorded.

Written by The Bulletin

Comments

WK

It is quite unbelievable: measures taken without any evidence of efficiency. Is there any proof that the virus is spreading in shops., in particular if staying longer than 30 minutes? Is there any proof that going shopping with the whole family or close friends is the cause of increasing cases? Or was the security council only meeting to hide the non-action on local hotspots.? What happens to the forms traveller have to fill in? Who controls that people meet only 5 other people. The only efficient tools against the virus are well known - you can learn from Vietnam with no victim or Taïwan with under 50 : masks + social distancing + efficient tracing + testing, testing, testing + quarantining. In other countries big events are canceled since months (in Munich f. i. the beer festival in October) here in Brussels the foire du midi was allowed last week and now it is canceled. Couldn’t the security council listen to real experts?

Jul 27, 2020 21:15
kplathia

WK: Just think for a minute. You wrote " Is there any proof that the virus is spreading in shops., in particular if staying longer than 30 minutes? Is there any proof that going shopping with the whole family or close friends is the cause of increasing cases?"
Virus is spreading everywhere, it does not decide to not come out of a sick person because he/she was indoors. If that were the case, then there would be no infections in care homes! The 30 min rule and single person rule is to give OTHER shoppers a chance to shop as well since all have to keep social distance inside so number of people inside is limited. If you take "your" family of 5, that means 4 other shoppers can not shop; same if you spend 1hr. other shoppers have to wait outside until you come out.
We need to think of others - sometimes!

Jul 28, 2020 08:34