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Flanders further tightens federal coronavirus measures

Credit: Belga

Flanders is further tightening the federal measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the Region, announced Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon during a press conference on Tuesday evening.

“Despite the measures that have already been taken, the figures continue to evolve unfavourably,” said Jambon, adding that the basic measures, such as hand hygiene, social distance and wearing a face mask, remain the same.

“We are not asking you to literally stay in your home at all times, but we are asking you to limit your physical contacts to the absolute minimum,” he added.

The ban on gatherings with more than 4 people remains in force, as will the curfew from midnight to 5:00 AM.

The following measures will enter into force on Friday from 6:00 PM:

Libraries remain open, but all other cultural venues have to close.

Events can no longer take place.

Only weekly markets are still allowed. Christmas markets and flea markets will no longer be possible.

People are asked to telework to the maximum of their capacity.

Shopping remains possible, but with a maximum of two people.

At weddings, funerals and religious services, a maximum of 40 people will be allowed to attend.

Inspectors of De Lijn will be given the power to issue fines against those who do not respect the obligation to wear a face mask on public transport.

Swimming pools, fitness centres and bowling venues will be closed.

For children under 12, there will be no additional restrictions for sports activities. For everyone aged 12 and over, sports will only be allowed outdoors with a group of maximum four. Professional sports are still allowed, but without public.

Higher education will switch to distance learning, except for first years, who can still go to class in a limited capacity.

For residential care centres, people are allowed to have one close contact (‘cuddle contact’), and one other contact. These can be different people every 2 weeks. Informal caregivers can stay in a residential care centre overnight.

All youth activities for young people over 12 years old will be banned. Youth and sports camps for children under 12 are still allowed, but without overnight stays. Outdoor playgrounds remain open.

“The turnaround is unfortunately not yet visible,” Jambon said. “The days of nonchalant behaviour are long behind us. Everyone must now behave responsibly. Otherwise, we are heading for a new lockdown.”

Jambon did not provide an end date for the restrictions, but did say that they would be in force for at least three weeks. “The measures will remain in place until we have the curves under control,” he said. “Our resilience will get us through this.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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