Belgium will maintain its compulsory mask mandate and tighten its travel rules following a review of its coronavirus measures, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced Monday.
Speaking at a news conference in Brussels Monday evening, De Croo noted that “the vaccination campaign is progressing very well, we now have more than 8 in 10 adults who have received a first dose, that puts us at the top in Europe.”
“Of the people who are vulnerable – because they have an underlying condition – today 3 in 4 of those people are fully vaccinated. And, if we look at the over sixty-fives, today it is more than 9 in 10 who are fully vaccinated,” he added
But the prime minister warned, “we have to relax the measures step by step. We have to remain vigilant. People can still get sick.”
Wearing a face covering will remain mandatory indoors in places such as: shops, public transport, cafes, bars, places of worship, or in places where social distancing can’t be maintained, with the exception of children under the age of 12.
There will be a stricter procedure for countries from the European Union or Schengen area where dangerous virus variants circulate. When returning from such a European high-risk zone, people who have not yet been fully vaccinated must also take a PCR test on day 7 in addition to a PCR test on day 1.
The measures will be in place till at least Sept. 1 and will be reviewed in one month, a news release said.
In the latest figures from Sciensano, the Belgian Health Authority, the number of infections and admissions to hospital have begun to rise.
From July 13 to 19, on average, 26 people were admitted to hospital each day, a 48% increase on the week before.
The latest consolidated data on coronavirus cases shows that between July 10 to 16, an average of 1,330 cases were reported each day, a 42% increase on the week before.
In total Belgium has recorded 1,107,208 cases and 25,213 coronavirus related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.