Belgium has agreed to drastic measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the closure of restaurants, bars and discos and the cancellation of recreational, sports and cultural activities, as well as the suspension of classes in schools, although not their closure.
The measures, decided on Thursday night and which exclude hotels, will apply until April 3.
Stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open throughout the week including Saturdays and Sundays, while the rest of the shops will be open from Monday to Friday.
In schools, the Belgian Government has decided to maintain a reception service for children with families who have no option to care for them, a measure aimed at facilitating the work of health personnel with children and at preventing grandparents, who are among the most vulnerable to the virus, they have to take care of the grandchildren.
The nurseries will be kept open.
Since the Easter holidays begin on April 6, children will not resume classes in principle until April 20.
"We want to avoid situations like the one in Italy," said acting Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, announcing the measures agreed at the federal level.
Belgium, which has 11.4 million inhabitants, had until Thursday, March 12, 399 cases of coronavirus.
Three people, 90, 73 and 86 years old, have died to date in this country as a result of COVID-19.