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How Belgium’s latest social contact rules work

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From Monday, people in Belgium will have to reduce their close contacts even further from the previous three to only one person, to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

In addition to bar and restaurant closures, a curfew and mandatory teleworking, people in Belgium will only be allowed to have one close social contact, besides the people living under the same roof as them.

A close contact, as Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said, is someone you can “hug or kiss,” meaning the 1.5 metres social distance does not have to be respected.

This person can be a friend, a significant other, a family member that does not live under the same roof as you, or anyone else, but it has to be the same one for a period of four weeks, starting from Monday 19 October.

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Seeing others is still allowed, but only while respecting the distance and safety rules at all times, and preferably outdoors.

Additionally, people are not allowed to invite more than four people in their homes at the same time, excluding children under 12. “With these people, face mask and distance rules still have to be respected,” said Vandenbroucke.

For a period of two weeks, these always have to be the same four people. For the next two weeks, you can choose four other people, if you want to.

While it is not forbidden by law or Ministerial Decree for grandparents to babysit their grandchildren, Vandenbroucke stressed that they should be very careful.

“Limit your close contacts. If the virus infects older people, it often leads to serious diseases. Older people are the most vulnerable to the disease,” Vandenbroucke stressed. “As a grandchild, you don’t want your grandmother to get sick. And maybe the grandmother herself should not want that either.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times