Belgium is postponing a number of planned April relaxations, following a spike in Coronavirus cases across the country, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday, during a press conference.
“We are doing this because we want to keep the perspective for after the Easter holidays,” De Croo said before adding that the goal still is to fully open the schools on April 19 and to resume some activities, including the food service and hotel industries.
To this end, the Belgian PM stressed that the only way to halt the increasing infection rates was to reduce the number of close contacts. The so-called “outdoor plan”, initially scheduled to come into force on April 1 will be put on hold, along with the reopening of theme parks and amateur sport.
“We must limit our close contacts. When we meet someone, take it outside. That is a lot safer. Even if you are not sick or have no symptoms, you can still infect someone,” De Croo said.
A nighttime curfew remains in place, from 10pm to 6am in the Brussels Capital Region and from midnight to 5am in Flanders and Wallonia. Teleworking remains the norm, with De Croo urging companies to allow their employees to work from home, while for those who cannot telework, extensive testing will be carried out from Monday and onwards.
“As far as companies are concerned, it is very clear: teleworking is not a luxury, teleworking is an obligation,” he added, noting that in schools and companies is “where the infections take place”.
? LIVE. Volg hier live de persconferentie na het Overlegcomité – ? EN DIRECT. Suivez ici la conférence de presse après le Comite de Concertation https://t.co/11QmxAtITk
— Alexander De Croo (@alexanderdecroo) March 19, 2021
The announcement followed a meeting of Belgium’s Consultative Committee, which met one week earlier to assess the measures currently in place.