March 12, 2020 / 9:56 PM / in a month

Belgian government says schools, restaurants, clubs to close due to coronavirus

BRUSSELS, March 12 (Reuters) - Belgium’s government on Thursday ordered schools, cafes, restaurants and some shops to close due to the coronavirus, following decisions by France and other European countries to limit all but essential activities.

The measures take effect from Friday at midnight central European time and run until April 3, although schools are set to be shut for five weeks, including the Easter holidays, Belgium’s caretaker Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference.

“There is no lockdown,” Wilmes told reporters, stressing that supermarkets and pharmacies would remain open and other shops would only be required to close on weekends. “We want to avoid the Italian situation and avoid lockdowns.” (Reporting by Robin Emmott, Marine Strauss and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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