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Belgium 'cannot rule out new lockdown' says health minister, as coronavirus cases rise

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Belgium 'cannot rule out new lockdown' says health minister, as coronavirus cases rise
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A steep rise in coronavirus infections in Belgium has experts worried that hospitals will not be able to cope, with new figures suggesting that the country could see 10,000 new cases per day by the end of the week.

Yves Van Laethem, Interfederal spokesperson for the fight against Covid-19 Belgium, told reporters that "all the indicators are increasing in quite an alarming way - across all provinces and across all age groups."

He highlighted the need to contain the spread of the virus as the "only way to save our hospitals but also to save the health system in relation to the other diseases that need to be treated."

Belgium is the second-worst hit country in Europe in terms of coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fortnight, second only to the Czech Republic.

After Belgium is the Netherlands, Spain and France, all of which have seen new restrictions launched to battle the outbreak in recent days.

Last week, the Belgian government introduced stricter measures - reducing social gatherings, imposing earlier closing times for bars and favouring working from home.

However, over the weekend, the federal health minister admitted that he couldn't rule out a new lockdown.