Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced new measures to tackle coronavirus after a long meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday evening.
All school lessons will be suspended starting Monday. However, the government called on citizens not to rely on grandparents to look after children. Schools will be responsible for providing care when parents have no choice but to work and for those who work in health care. The suspension of classes is until April 3, which is the start of the Easter holidays. Daycare facilities remain open until further notice.
All recreational activities are canceled. Restaurants and bars will have to close. Shops can stay open during the week but will have to close on weekends, except for pharmacies and grocery stores. All citizens are advised to work from home if possible and elderly people are advised to stay home.
Public transport will continue to run.
The measures will go into effect from Friday into Saturday.
Wilmès stressed that even though the measures were severe in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, Belgium is not in lockdown.
Across the country of 11 million people, the virus has so far caused three deaths and 399 people have tested positive.
More about: Belgium