Belgium, facing second-highest COVID-19 rate in Europe, enacts curfew and closes bars

BRUSSELS (AP) — Bars and restaurants across Belgium shut down for a month and a nighttime curfew took effect Monday as health authorities warned of a possible “tsunami” of new virus cases in the hard-hit nation that host the headquarters of the European Union.

The new measures aim to limit social interactions to slow down the exponential growth of the pandemic in the nation of 11.5 million people. The new surge of coronavirus cases has already prompted several hospitals to delay nonessential operations to focus on treating COVID-19 cases.

“We are really very close to a tsunami,” Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told broadcaster RTL.

According to AP figures based on data collected by Johns Hopkins University, Belgium recorded an average of 73.95 daily cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, the second-worst record in the EU behind the Czech Republic.

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