Belgium has taken further steps in working to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the country, with the announcement that it will stop lessons in schools, seriously limit shopping and close all cafes and restaurants and more.
This news came following the conclusion of a much-anticipated meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday to discuss the approach to the virus.
Speaking in a press conference late on Thursday evening, Interim Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced a number of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus:
- All recreational activities will be cancelled.
- All restaurants and cafes will be closed.
- Only shops providing essential services - pharmacies and food stores - will remain open.
All other shops remain open during the week, but will close during the weekends.
- All classes at school will be suspended, but schools will be asked to provide care, especially for parents who are unable to look after their children during school hours. The Prime Minister has called for children not to be taken care of by grandparents.
- Crèches will stay open.
- Public transport will continue to run.
"This is not a lockdown," stressed Prime Minister Wilmès. "We want to avoid situations like Italy. These measures must prevent lockdowns."
All measures will take effect from midnight on Friday, and will remain valid until 3 April.
For the latest updates on Belgium's response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
The Brussels Times