Against sharply rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced Friday that strict new lockdown measures will be imposed on the country for six weeks starting Sunday night.
“There is only one choice, and that is for all of us to support our healthcare sector as much as we can. We have to limit our physical contacts as much as possible," De Croo said at a news conference. "We are going back into a strict lockdown, which has only one purpose: to ensure that our healthcare system does not collapse."
The measures are Belgium’s “last chance if we want to bring this curve down,” he added. They will take effect on Sunday night and will remain in place until Dec. 13.
The new lockdown measures include:
- Closure of all non-essential stores, but home delivery and collections are allowed.
- Supermarkets and grocery stores will remain open and De Croo emphasized that “there is no reason to hoard.”
- Non-medical professions that require close contact such as hairdressers, barbers or beauticians will be forced to close.
- Working from home will remain mandatory for those that are able to. Where it’s not possible, masks or ventilation will be mandatory, it these rules are applied then people can continue to work in the office.
- School holidays will be extended until Nov. 15.