- Title: Belgians face near lockdown over coronavirus threat
- Date: 14th March 2020
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (MARCH 14, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GRAND PALACE IN BRUSSELS VARIOUS OF MANNEKEN PIS MONUMENT, A TOURIST ATTRACTION IN BRUSSELS EMPTY STREET / CLOSED SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (French) BRUSSELS RESIDENT, KAREL VERHOEVEN, SAYING: "It's unreal. It's nightmarish. I don't understand and I have a lot of questions." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING DOWN STREET/ SHOP SIGNS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BRUSSELS RESIDENT, MARIE-ELISABETH LIMBREE, SAYING: "It looks like a dead city. We are not in quarantine, I hope that we will not get there, but it is really very sad." CUSTOMER WAITING FOR FRIES IN FRONT OF A FRIES SHOP A BELGIAN EATING FRIES WORKER DELIVERING FRIES TO CUSTOMER WORKER PREPARING FRIES (SOUNDBITE) (French) MANAGER OF THE FRIES SHOP, MEDI SEFA, SAYING: "We have really, really fewer people. But as you can see, there are still people here. They come to eat fries, no matter what. But we can still feel the impact. For a Saturday, there are really fewer people." VARIOUS OF A CAFE WITH A CLOSED SIGN READING (English): "Dear customers, following the government measurements in preventing the coronavirus, we remain closed until April 3rd." (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH TOURIST, INES ZIDAN, SAYING: "I feel like the city is dead. There is nothing more to do, everything is closed. I don't even know where to eat." LE MONT DES ARTS AREA FACADES OF MAGRITTE MUSEUM AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS MUSEUM (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRAZILIAN TOURIST, PAULA CAMARGOS, SAYING: "It's some kind of scare, because nobody is in the streets and everything is closed." PEOPLE WALKING INTO SUPERMARKET (SOUNDBITE) (French) RESIDENT OF BRUSSELS, MALIKA ELOUAAITI, SAYING: "It's very weird. It's like going out on a Sunday morning at 7 a.m., when the city is completely empty. The stores are all closed, except some small supermarkets. So, it's very weird." ONE OF DOWNTOWN BRUSSELS BIGGEST STREETS, RUE DE LA REGENCE, NEARLY EMPTY PEOPLE WALKING DOWN A STREET IN BRUSSELS
- Embargoed: 28th March 2020 16:06
- Keywords: Belgium Brussels Brussels fries coronavirus coronavirus lockdown infected infection virus
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001C50XEMF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tourist attractions and shopping streets were nearly empty in Brussels on Saturday (March 14) after the government issued several measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Authorities ordered nearly all restaurants, cafes, bars, schools, gyms and all sporting and cultural facilities to close for three weeks from midnight Saturday (March 14), to limit the number of infections.
But proprietors of the ubiquitous Belgian dish - the fried potato stick or 'French fries' - escaped the country's lockdown.
Brussels fries shop manager, Medi Sefa, said there were definitely "fewer people" for a Saturday, but welcomed those who "come to eat fries, no matter what."
Tourists were still seen taking photos at the Grand Palace and the famous Mannekin Pis fountain, but were far fewer in number than the average Saturday.
French tourist Ines Zidan said she felt the "city is dead" and she "(doesn't) even know where to eat."
Several shops were also allowed to remain open but had their opening times limited to prevent the spread of the virus.
As of Saturday (March 14), Belgium has 559 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three people have died from the disease.
(Production: Jeremy Audouard, Fintan McDonnell)
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