Brussels region makes face masks compulsory
The wearing of face masks in public is compulsory in the Brussels region from Wednesday, regional authorities announced, as Belgium battles one of the most serious coronavirus outbreaks in Europe.
Face masks were already required in most closed public spaces since July 11 for people aged 12 and over.
The measure was extended in the 19 municipalities of the Brussels region after the threshold of 50 daily cases per 100,000 people was crossed, the regional government said in a statement.
Belgium has one of the highest per capita death rates from COVID-19 in the world and infections are again rising after earlier success in bringing the epidemic under control.
The number of cases in the country of around 11.5 million people topped 75,000 on Wednesday. Nearly 10,000 deaths have been registered.
"This Wednesday, August 12, 2020, the incidence rate in Brussels has reached the average of 50 cases of COVID-19 contamination per 100,000 inhabitants over the last seven days", the statement said.
"Wearing a mask covering the nose and mouth is therefore now compulsory for anyone aged 12 and over in public places and in private places accessible to the public throughout the Brussels-Capital Region."
The measure does not apply to Belgium's two other regions, Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia.
However, there were some exceptions to the ruling in Brussels, such as when playing sports or for people with certain disabilities.
© 2020 AFP