Coronavirus: only outings of people living together ‘tolerated’ during lockdown
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    Coronavirus: only outings of people living together ‘tolerated’ during lockdown

    "Meeting with friends is not allowed, only coming out with people living under the same roof will be tolerated," Belgium's Crisis Centre said on Thursday. © Belga

    Only people who live under the same roof are allowed to go outside together during Belgium’s coronavirus lockdown, the federal crisis centre said.

    “Meeting with friends is not allowed, only coming out with people living under the same roof will be tolerated,” Yves Stevens, spokesperson for Belgium’s Crisis Centre said.

    Stevens’ comments come just a day after lockdown measures entered into force across the country, which dictated that, until 3 April, citizens may only come outside for “essential reasons.”

    In contrast to stricter lockdown measures enforced in Spain or France, the government said Belgian residents could still practice physical activities outdoors provided that certain conditions were followed.

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    “It can be done among members of the same family living under the same roof and one friend. Families living under the same roof are authorised to go out together. It is important to keep a reasonable social distance,” the prime minister said in a statement.

    “We repeat that it is important to keep going outside, but do this as a family and in the vicinity of your own home,” Stevens said, HLN reports. “Do not take the car to go to the sea or to a nature park.”

    Despite announcements that police would patrol the streets to ensure that citizens were following the new measures, scenes of people lounging in a Brussels park on Wednesday evening drew indignation from a local doctor, who said people were treating the lockdown as though it was “a holiday.”

    The statements by the Crisis Centre’s spokesperson come as authorities in both Italy and France move to extend their own lockdowns, with French authorities also poised to tighten regulations on citizen movement.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times