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Europe / Coronavirus

Belgium reports 942 fresh COVID-19 cases

Authorities warn people against defying restrictions, as public transport reported an increase in the number of travelers.

Belgium has reported 942 fresh infections over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus or COVID-19 cases to 30,589 since the pandemic outbreak, the health authorities announced on Monday.

According to the latest health data published by the Brussels-based Federal Public Service of Health, 310 new patients have been admitted to hospitals. Another 239 cases have been discharged after they reported recovery.

At the moment, 5,393 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospitals in the country. Also, 303 people have died over the past few days, raising the death toll to 3,903. As many as 53% of them died in hospitals, while 43% in elderly homes.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen on Monday expressed grief at the death of a staff member of the Commission. The deceased was working in the Directorate-General Research and Innovation.

The capital’s public transport service STIB and the road assistance company Touring have reported a rise in the number of travelers in the past few days.

It shows that some people are not observing social distancing and were out to celebrate Easter with their family members.

Authorities have classified such visits as non-essential under the strict coronavirus measures imposed a month ago. They invoke a penalty of €250 ($274) as a first-time offense and €350 ($2,843) a second time for breaching the lockdown rules.

Authorities indicate to extend lockdown
 

People are only allowed to leave their homes for buying essentials like food, medicine and visiting a doctor, besides helping someone in need or going to work -- unless the home office is not an option.

Only supermarkets and pharmacies are open, while snack bars and restaurants are just allowed to offer takeaway food.

People are allowed to take a walk outside with their family members but are required to keep a distance of 1.5-meter between them.

The government will decide on Wednesday whether to extend restrictive measures beyond April 19. So far indications go, that restrictions will be extended.

Emmanuel Andre, the federal spokesperson for COVID-19, underlined on Monday that there is no need to reinforce the restrictions, but existing lockdown measures need to continue.

Since appearing in China last December, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 1.8 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with nearly 114,000 deaths, and over 438,000 recovered.

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