As of today, Belgium has 556 registered COVID-19 infections, of whom one has fully recovered and three have died. The three people who died were all seniors ─ one was in his late 60s, another was in their late 70s and one woman was 90 and was already being monitored for other conditions that severely weakened her immune system.
The country is not going in lockdown, but schools must be closed ─ until the 3rd of April, at least ─ by government order, and the same is true for all bars, cafés, restaurants and clubs, although hotels may remain open. All cultural and sports events have now also been canceled.
There have also ─ and this is commendable ─ already been many local and voluntary initiatives to help reduce the spread of the virus prior to the official government directive. For instance, soccer clubs were already deciding for themselves not to go ahead with planned games, and individual towns had decided to close down their local public swimming pools. Many events were voluntarily being canceled, although there was already a preliminary government-ordered prohibit on events that would bring more than 1'000 people together.
I do applaud all those who've taken it upon themselves to cancel their activities and make an effort at preventing the spread of the disease ─ and I am equally outraged with everyone who has been or still may be exhibiting irresponsible behavior while in denial of the situation ─ but I am also glad that for once, our government has managed to cast an objective and well-considered response to the situation by forbidding certain things without locking down the whole country.
For a moment there, I thought they were not going to be responding to the situation at all, but apparently they have now, and ─ again ─ in a well-considered way. Kudos to them.