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Belgium reinforces measures to combat spike in Covid-19 infections

 
Brussels, Nov 18 (IANS) The Belgian authorities have announced new measures to curb the rise in new coronavirus cases, including mandatory mask wearing in all closed public places.

"The virus is three times more contagious than the virus of 2020," said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, following the announcement of the new measures.

"We put emphasis on prevention and protection, not closure," he added.

Wearing a face mask will be mandatory for everyone from the age of 10, except at school. This will apply in all closed public places such as public transport, shops, cinemas, and during outdoor events subject to the obligation.

Teleworking becomes compulsory in the private sector and in all public administrations, unless the nature of the function or the continuity of activities does not allow it, Xinhua news agency reported.

The "Covid Safe Ticket Plus" (CST+), which combines the CST and the wearing of the mask will be required to enter restaurants, as well as for public and private events with more than 50 people indoor and 100 people outside.

The Prime Minister warned that social distancing should be observed at 1.5 metres, noting that a new vaccination campaign for a booster dose is being prepared.

The number of infections, hospitalizations and intensive care patients has almost doubled across the country in the past two weeks. Belgium has so far recorded a total of 1,524,862 infection cases and 26,444 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

--IANS
int/khz/