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Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo: THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Belgium is enforcing a strict lockdown starting Sunday amid rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and a surge of deaths, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday.

Why it matters: De Croo said the government saw no choice but to lock down "to ensure that our health care system does not collapse." Scientists and health officials said deaths have doubled every six days, per the Guardian.

Details: De Croo added that these measures are Belgium's "last chance" and said they will remain in place through at least Dec. 13, but will be evaluated on Dec. 1, according to the Brussels Times.

  • Non-essential and non-medical businesses — such as hair salons, bars and restaurants — will close.
  • Indoor gatherings are no longer permitted and outdoor gatherings will be limited to four people.
  • Schools are to remain closed until mid-November.

The big picture: Belgium has seen over 392,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths since the pandemic got underway, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

  • This is Belgium's second lockdown of the pandemic, after the country first shut down in March, according to Politico.

What they're saying: "If the figures continue to rise at this rate, it is simple: there will come a time when the doors of our intensive care will close,” Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said.

Worth noting: Belgium is the third European country to impose lockdown measures this week.

Go deeper: A new round of coronavirus shutdowns hits the U.S. and Europe

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.