Belgium eases Coronavirus restrictions despite surge in cases



Belgium is easing some Coronavirus restrictions as of October 1, the country’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced on Wednesday, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. 

Under the new guidelines, face masks will not be mandatory in public spaces, except for busy streets or in places where keeping physical distance is not possible, however, people will still need to have them on in shops, cinemas and public transport. Currently face masks are mandatory in all places, all the times. 

“We have to acknowledge that it is useless to impose it [masks] everywhere, every time,” Wilmes told reporters during a news conference.

For those possibly infected with the virus but are asymptomatic, the quarantine period will be reduced from 14 to 7 days, and under those circumstances, people need to get tested immediately. Same to those presenting symptoms of the virus.

“If the test is positive, then you have COVID-19. Isolation continues,” Wilmes said. “If the test is negative, then as soon as your clinical situation allows it, you can stop isolating,” she added.

Concerning the so-called “social bubble” people are allowed to have contact with as many people as they want to, provided they keep their distance at all times and, if this is not possible, wear a mask. However, when it comes to meeting people in the same place at the same time, they are not allowed meet more than 10 individuals.

Teleworking is still recommended.

Earlier this week, the government announced that as of Friday, travel ban to countries and cities marked as a “red zones” will no longer be forbidden, but strongly discouraged. This means that traveling to these areas is allowed, however, upon return, people will need to self-isolate and take a COVID-19 test on the 5th day.

The government’s move came after a consultation with the experts, who supported that the cases are still increasing but at a lower pace.


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