New Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo (pictured below), has this evening (6 October) announced new measures to combat the growing rate of COVID-19 infections. In addition, a COVID-19 Commissioner has been appointed: Pedro Facon, director general for health at Belgium's Federal Public Service Health (FPSH).
The current evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing particular concern: the number of contaminations, hospital admissions and deaths is increasing. In order to avoid a return to a general lockdown containment, a number of strengthened measures to contain the virus have been decided.
These measures are:
Close contacts: limitation to a maximum of 3 close contacts per month. Close contact is contact with a person within 1.50m without a mask.
Private gatherings at home: maximum 4 people, respecting safety distances or wearing a mask if this is not possible.
Cafes, cafeterias and other places where drinks are served: maximum 4 people per table, except people living under the same roof.
Unorganized gatherings outside: maximum 4 people, except for people living under the same roof.
Cafés closing time: 11:00 pm.
Additional efforts in terms of awareness and respect so that these measures are applied everywhere.
Telework is strongly recommended, several days a week
These measures constitute the “national base”. In provinces where the situation worsens, the governor may propose additional measures, in consultation with the Minister of the Interior and the COVID-19 commissioner. These measures may apply to the whole province or part of it.
Strict monitoring of these measures is absolutely necessary to protect healthcare services, to keep schools open to the fullest and to protect the elderly and the vulnerable. If these measures are not followed, even stricter measures will be required. Our social life will be further reduced and our economy will be seriously damaged. Respecting these measures is everyone's responsibility.
These measures apply to the whole of Belgium from Friday 9 October to 9 November inclusive, after which they will be subject to evaluation.
Original press release text in French.