“It’s a Belgian joke”: Brussels has set itself a two-hour curfew on Friday

The inhabitants of Brussels remained perplexed by the rules which oblige them to respect a curfew on Friday evening … for only two hours!

They will have to be inside by 10 p.m., but 120 minutes later they are free to go out again.

The nighttime curfew in Belgium, which lasted from midnight to 5 a.m., will be lifted Friday / Saturday at midnight and will be replaced by a ban on assembling more than three people from different homes during the same five-year period. time.

But in the capital Brussels, the curfew started two hours earlier, at 10 p.m. It will still be in place on Friday, which means residents will have to put up with two hours before the new restriction regime takes effect.

“It’s a Belgian joke and not even a good Belgian joke”, said Brussels MP Gilles Verstraeten Flemish radio on Thursday mornings.

“My tolerance limit for such nonsense has now reached its lowest point,” he also said by local media.

Restrictions imposed across Belgium in October to curb a resurgence of the pandemic began to be lifted last month.

Schools and hairdressers, forced to close again at the end of March, were allowed to reopen on April 19 while the ban on non-essential travel outside the country’s borders was lifted.

The next phase of the easing will take place on May 8 when cafes and restaurants are allowed to open their terraces.

With more than 24,400 deaths since the start of the pandemic, the country of 11.5 million people has the 10th highest COVID-19 death rate relative to the population in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University .

Its 14-day incidence rate is currently in 392.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which places it in the bottom half of EU / EEA countries, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

But the number of new cases has trended downward over the past month, with the 7-day average now below 3,000, from a peak of over 4,800 at the end of March.

This has eased some of the pressure on hospitals. There were fewer than 800 COVID-19 patients in intensive care on Tuesday, a level last reached on April 1.

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