BRUSSELS — Belgian health authorities warned Friday that the number of confirmed coronavirus infections is rising, probably due in part to the fast-spreading variant first found in Britain.
Figures released Friday showed that 2,294 new confirmed cases are appearing on average daily, a rise of 24% over the previous 7-day period. However, the number of reported cases in care homes is dropping, and the COVID-19 death rate continues to decline.
Officials appeared set to prolong restrictions that have been in place almost permanently since the start of November, including obligatory mask-wearing outdoors, night-time curfews, and limits on certain shops opening. Non-essential travel is also banned.
Belgian officials have been exhorting people to respect the restrictions, as warmer weather approaches and the effect of vaccinations slowly begin to take hold, even as rights groups challenge some of the measures and amid concern over the possible misuse of health data.
The Belgian government is meeting later Friday. Along with prolonging restrictions by several weeks, the government is weighing changes such as possibly opening some businesses that involve more person-to-person contact, like beauty salons…