Belgium announces six-week lockdown in Covid-19 crackdown

30 October 2020, 18:51 | Updated: 30 October 2020, 19:43

Belgium has become the latest European nation to announce a second national lockdown in response to coronavirus
Belgium has become the latest European nation to announce a second national lockdown in response to coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Belgium has announced a six-week lockdown to curb the skyrocketing cases of Covid-19.

The measures the country will need to abide by include:

- All non-essential stores and other businesses will be ordered to close

- Bars and restaurants will be closed

-Workers will have to work from home, where possible

-Although people will be permitted to leave their homes, they will not be allowed visitors

- Schools will extend their mid-term break until 15 November

The nation's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said: "After in-depth consultation with scientists, the consultation committee unanimously decided to move to more severe confinement throughout the territory."

Belgium has now become third European country to announce a second national lockdown, after France and Germany both brought in similar meaures earlier this week.

Read more: Switzerland added to UK travel corridor list

French President Emmanuel Macron said the country was being "overpowered" by the second wave, and said a new nationwide lockdown would be the only possible way to successfully fight Covid-19.

The government is scheduled to lay out the details of the new lockdown on Thursday, and the measures will be enforced from Friday.

France saw one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, with citizens expected to show papers detailing why they were leaving their homes.

It is expected these measures will be reimplemented, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, medical appointments and essential exercise.

Schools however, will remain open.

In France, more than half of the country's intensive care units are already occupied by Covid-19 patients.

France reported 288 new virus-related deaths in hospitals in 24 hours on Tuesday and 235 deaths in nursing homes over the previous four days. Both figures marked the biggest such rise since May.

"Nothing is more important than human life," Mr Macron, noting that France has one of the biggest coronavirus rates in Europe currently.

Angela Merkel also announced on Wednesday Germany's lockdown will come into effect on November 2 and will see bars and restaurants closing until 30 November.

Shops will be allowed to remain open on condition that there is only one customer per 10 square metres of space.

According to the federal government's proposal, all leisure facilities such as theatres, operas, cinemas, swimming pools and fitness studios, but also bars, clubs, discos and pubs will close.

But the "delivery and collection of takeaway meals for consumption at home" will remain open.

Schools, kindergartens will remain open too.

More to follow...