Belgium pauses re-opening plans as virus infections mount

BRUSSELS (AP) — Prime Minister Alexander De Croo says Belgium faces a few “crucial weeks” as the number of coronavirus cases rise. He says he’s pausing government plans to gradually ease restrictions. Health authorities said Friday that the number of new daily infections had risen by a third over the past seven days, to reach 3,226 on average. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 also rose by 27%. The plan had been to resume some activities outdoors from April 1. But De Croo says the most important thing is to open schools normally on April 19 after the Easter break, and that means putting up with the restrictions for longer. De Croo says “we are pressing the pause button.”