Antwerp Province’s crisis cell decided on Saturday to limit each individual to a contact bubble of no more than 10 persons for the next four weeks.
Each resident will be “invited” to keep a written record of the name, address and telephone numbers of these persons, the crisis cell said.
As has been the case in the city of Antwerp since Saturday, public gatherings of more than 10 persons are banned throughout the province. The crisis cell, which met on Saturday, is also asking residents to practice social distancing within their contact groups and to postpone private parties.
Anyone above the age of 12 needs to wear a face mask in all “highly frequented public places.”
“It is only if everyone adheres systematically to all measures that we will be able, together, to reduce the number of infections sharply in the next four weeks,” the cell, headed by Governor Cathy Berx, said. “We call on everyone to be creative in order to beat the virus, not to get around the measures.”
Strictly respecting the measures, which are stricter at the local level, will help Antwerp avoid a new lockdown, the authorities said. “We wish to avoid that scenario, everyone wants to avoid it at all costs.”
New infections are increasing faster in Antwerp Province than in the rest of the country. The reproduction rate of the virus is close to 2, which indicates an exponential increase in the number of infections, according to the crisis cell.
This means each infected person spreads the virus to two others, on average.
The average rate for Belgium is 1.45, according to the national public health research institute, Sciensano.