BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The authorities of Belgium's northernmost Antwerp Province have imposed curfew from 11:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and also ordered companies to return to remote work where possible due to a sharp jump in the number of cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Belgian state broadcaster RTBF said that in the mentioned period, everyone must stay home, except for movements caused by extreme necessity (travel to work or to the hospital).
All cafes and restaurants must close no later than 11:00 p.m. All contact sports for athletes over 18 years of age are temporarily prohibited. Banquet halls and fitness centers will also be closed in some areas of the province.
Earlier, experts announced the beginning of a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic in Belgium. The most difficult situation with the spread of COVID-19 has reportedly been observed in Antwerp, with the situation in the country's south and in Brussels being more stable.
On Monday, the Belgian authorities held an extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council in connection with the coronavirus spread. Following the meeting, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes urged citizens to limit contacts and take more careful precautions.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of COVID-19 cases in Belgium totals 66,026, with 9,821 deaths and 17,439 recoveries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic on 11 March.
According to the WHO, the global coronavirus death toll has surpassed 646,000 people, with the number of cases worldwide exceeding 16 million.