Belgium further tightened virus restrictions as the Omicron variant spreads, closing cinemas, theatres and other indoor activities.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the new variant would soon be dominant in Belgium with nearly 30% of new cases already the Omicron variant.
“We must be extremely prudent in a period where there is much uncertainty,” De Croo said at a press conference.
There are currently 693 patients in intensive care units in the country.
While most indoor activities will have to stop, museums, libraries and fitness centres will be able to stay open. But the closures will include indoor Christmas markets, winter villages and other cultural events.
Distancing rules will also be tightened with only groups of two people allowed to shop together as part of the measures set to take effect on Sunday.
The Belgian government is also urging people to get tested ahead of the holidays.
The government had already put in place a number of measures including mandatory home working, mask-wearing from age 6, and the closing of nightclubs. Restaurants and bars have had to close at 11:00pm.