Antwerp under curfew as COVID-19 cases surge

Antwerp, Belgium's most populous province, announced a curfew and other strict new regulations on Monday as the country struggles to halt a dramatic rise in new coronavirus infections.

The curfew will apply from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., with only those going to work or the hospital allowed outside their homes. Face masks will be mandatory in all public spaces and working from home will also be compulsory, "except when it is absolutely impossible." Governor Cathy Berx called on Belgians to not make unnecessary visits to the province and told people in Antwerp to "stay at home as much as possible."

Restaurants will remain open, a controversial decision as in Antwerp, as elsewhere across Europe, new infections rose sharply exactly two weeks after they were allowed to reopen.

Lost restaurant sandbars simply ignored the social distancing rules they were legally obliged to enforce, and did not take clients names and contact details as they were supposed to.

There appear to be "hotspots" in the city of Antwerp itself, mainly those with high density and largely migrant populations, as well as social housing districts.

New infections across in Belgium as a whole continue to rise, with an average increase of 71% in the last recorded seven days, July 17-23, compared to the previous seven days, July 10-16.

In Brussels the rates are lower, but this is believed to be due to under-reporting.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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