BRUSSELS is to close all bars and cafes for a month following a 50 percent rise in new coronavirus cases.
The move comes after the Belgian government announced an 11pm curfew for bars nationwide and a four-person limit on social gatherings.
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The capital recorded 3,751 positive tests in the week to October 4, up from 2,391 the previous week.
Restaurants serving food at tables will be allowed to stay open, but bars are cafes will be told to close their doors until November 8, when the move will be reviewed.
The measures will apply even to cafes only serving tea and coffee, Rudi Vervoort, the head of the Brussels regional government, said at a press conference.
“Serving alcohol is not the criteria here,” he said.
Drinking alcohol in public spaces will also be prohibited.
Officials are also scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss whether schools and universities should remain open and how it could be achieved.
Cases in Brussels remained low throughout June and July following an initial lockdown, but began to rise again at the start of August.
The city saw a total of 3,481 people diagnosed in August, rising to 8,781 in September.
A further 1,748 tested positive in the first five days of this month alone.
Officials said that infection rates in Brussels are now second only to Madrid, where a new lockdown has also been imposed, among the EU’s 27 capitals.
STRICTER MEASURES NATIONWIDE
Cases are also rising across Belgium as a whole, with 17,472 cases recorded in the month to October 4, up from 11,070 the week before.
The week also saw 82 covid-related deaths recorded, up from 39 the previous week but far below the weekly peak of 1,978 in April.
The country’s new prime minister, Alexander De Croo, who took office on October 1, announced a series of measures on Tuesday that will be enforced nationwide.
Bars are to close by 11pm, and no more than four people can congregate socially in a home, at a table in a cafe, or outside.
Events venues will also be forced to close and people will be barred from attending sports centre to spectate on amateur sports.
Regional governments have also been given the power to introduce stricter measures local if they choose.
It comes as countries across Europe saw cases begin to rise in recent months as lockdowns were eased.
Residents in Madrid have now been told not to leave the city unless their journey is essential, while bars in Paris were told to close for at least two weeks from Tuesday.
The UK is similarly seeing cases begin to rise again, with 14,542 confirmed yesterday, up from 9,116 on the same day last week.
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Today saw the Scottish government announce that pubs will be banned from serving alcohol indoors for 16 days from Friday.
Those inside the country’s so-called “central belt” – Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley – will be told to close their doors altogether.