Belgium was expected on Friday to permit hairdressers to reopen mid-month in a small easing of COVID-19 restrictions as serious infections slow in a country with one of the world’s highest per capita death rates. The Belgian government, regional chiefs, and health experts were discussing reducing restrictions to allow hairdressers, beauty parlors, and possibly zoos and camping or cabin sites to reopen on Feb. 13 at the earliest.
However, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the reopening of hairdressers should not be interpreted as the start of wide-scale easing. “The epidemiological situation simply does not allow that,” he told parliament on Thursday. Belgium has recorded more than COVID-19 21,000 casualties among its 11 million people, more than most other countries. However, while cases have been creeping up with more children tested, daily hospital admissions and deaths have been heading down.
Cafes and restaurants have been shut since October and there is a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m., but shops and schools are able to run. The Belgian government says it needs to have lesser than 800 confirmed infections a day and 75 daily hospital admissions for a period of three weeks before essentially easing lockdown rules.