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Belgium extends confinement measures until April 19 – POLITICO

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès | Olivier Hoslet/AFP via Getty Images

‘It’s way too early to say that the epidemic is under control,’ says prime minister.



Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès today announced the extension of confinement measures for at least two weeks, until April 19.

At a press conference, she said a decision on another two-week extension, until May 3, will be taken at a later date.

Schools had been pushing the government for guidelines on whether they could reopen after the Easter holidays, which end on April 19. The Belgian National Security Council discussed that today but didn’t give more information.

The measures will remain the same but will be enforced more strictly by law enforcement, Wilmès said. Police will monitor companies more closely to see if they respect social distancing and close them if necessary. Belgium has closed almost all shops, plus restaurants, bars and schools but is not in complete lockdown as cycling and walking are allowed at all times.

As of Friday, 7,284 people in Belgium had tested positive for coronavirus. Some 490 people have been hospitalized in the last 24 hours and the death toll stands at 289.

“It’s way too early to say that the epidemic is under control,” Wilmès said. “If we relax the measures now, the consequences will be grave.”

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