Belgium announces new Covid-19 restrictions

Non-medical contact professions in Belgium, such as hairdressers and beauty salons, will have to close, the country’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a press conference.

Schools will also close next week and will reopen on April 19 in a blitz of new measures designed to curb the third coronavirus wave, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

“Outdoor bubbles” will be reduced to four people from ten, not counting children under the age of 12.

These new measures will apply from the evening of March 26 and will remain in force for at least four weeks. The current curfew remains in place, and teleworking will be compulsory until new measures are announced.

“Belgium is taking a number of strict additional measures to combat the rapidly rising coronavirus figures,” De Croo said. “We have been able to keep the virus on a plateau for months, and we will be able to overpower this third wave as well.”

To date, Belgium has recorded 842,775 Covid-19 cases and 22,763 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Sciensano public health institute.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries, including Belgium, with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 267 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 83 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to the latest information released by the World Health Organization.