“The committee has taken the utmost care,” said Prime Minister Alexander de Croe. “The alarms flash red,” he added.
Wearing face masks in crowded places will now be mandatory from the age of 10. Working remotely, if possible, will be compulsory on four of the five days of the work week from Saturday to December 12th.
Until now, face masks had to be worn from the age of 12, but working remotely was recommended but not mandatory.
It is also planned to introduce special regulations to combat Covid-19 in schools, the prime minister said.
The government has also tightened regulations in nightclubs, restaurants and bars, where face masks or a negative virus test will be required in addition to mandatory testing for full vaccination status.
Belgium will also start offering booster vaccination to anyone who has already completed a full course of vaccination against Covid-19. 7% of the population have already received a dose of the vaccine.
Although 76.1% of the population in Belgium has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including 88% of adults, the number of infections and hospital use is rising sharply again.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Belgium rose by 27% last week to more than 10,000 a day. During the same period, the number of hospital admissions increased by 21%, while the number of beds used in intensive care units increased by 28% to 557.
In Belgium, with a population of 11 million, Covid-19 has claimed 26,000 lives.