After 4 hours of meetings on Thursday, the Belgium government and its executive committee agreed to take drastic measures and permanently close bars, restaurants, and clubs for three weeks.
They also banned any leisure event, be it sports, cultural or otherwise, which will mean the closure of gyms, cinemas, and theaters.
Weekends will be subject to the greatest restrictions: only pharmacies, supermarkets, and pet food stores will be allowed to open. The rest, from clothing chains to hair salons, will shut.
The package of measures will take effect this Saturday, and includes the suspension of classes at all levels except nurseries. The schools will remain open, however, with a team at the disposal of the children of the health personnel and those families who only have grandparents as an alternative to care for them, a way of avoiding the spread of older people, the older group. risk.
Public transportation will continue to operate, but it is recommended not to use it.
When compared to its neighboring countries, the number of cases in Belgium is relatively low: the latest data shows less than 400 infected, which places it far from the top of the ranking, specifically it is tenth place among its European partners.
Its capital, Brussels, is the most cosmopolitan city on the continent with around two-thirds of its population of foreign origin. That position, acquired in large part by its status as the headquarters of community institutions eg The EU Headquarters, makes it on paper an ideal candidate for the spread of the virus, taking into account the regular round-trip trips of officials and politicians to their countries.
“This is not a closure. We want to avoid situations like the Italian one. These measures should prevent closure, ”said interim Prime Minister Francophone Liberal Sophie Wilmes.
The Belgian government`s action reopens the debate on the best way to deal with the emergency at a time of disparate strategies within the EU: with a gradual trickle of containment measures as cases grow, thinking that the number of infected is more or less small, which they are not…