Belgium, home to the EU’s headquarters and NATO, announced tighter restrictions on social contacts and the closure for six weeks from Monday of businesses like hairdressers and shops which provide services not considered essential. It also extended November school holidays by an extra week.
Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said the country of 11 million people otherwise faced a breakdown of its health system.
“We are moving in the direction of reinforced confinement with a single objective: to prevent health care from creaking under pressure that is already immense today,” de Croo stated.
This month the country has already put in place a night curfew and closed bars, restaurants, gyms and cultural spaces. But a patchwork of disjointed measures adopted by Belgium’s regions, which have broad powers, in addition to federal action has caused confusion.
In the second half of October, Belgium reported an average of 1,600 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, more than twice as many as in France.
It also has one of Europe’s highest mortality rates, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
As we reported earlier, the Cabinet of Ministers extended the emergency situation in Ukraine until December 31, 2020.
Initially, the emergency regime was introduced in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.