BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium extended the use of facemasks and mandatory remote work on Wednesday in an attempt to contain a new surge of COVID-19 cases.

“The alarm signals are flashing red,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. 

The premier added that the mandatory use of facemasks in crowded places would now include those 10 and older and that remote work, when possible, would mandatory for 4 days in the 5-day workweek until Dec. 12. 

Up to now, facemasks had been limited to those 12 and over and remote work had been a recommendation only, but not mandatory. Special rules adapted to fighting COVID-19 schools would be imposed imminently, he said.

The government also reinforced rules in nightclubs, restaurants and bars, adding that masks or a negative virus test would be needed in addition to a mandatory check of full vaccination status. 

“If we want to avoid another lockdown, we have to show a sense of responsibility,” said De Croo. 

The measures reflect similar actions taken across several European nations where the virus has raged again over the past week. The World Health Organization says Europe is the only region in the world where COVID-19 deaths are rising.

Coronavirus cases in Belgium, a nation of 11 million, …read more



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