BRUSSELS — A familiar sight from the pandemic is returning to Belgium.
Belgian health authorities on Tuesday issued a “code orange” alert as the country faces a sharp rise in influenza cases, which means wearing face masks is now “strongly recommended” for vulnerable people.
That designation includes people over the age of 65, or those suffering from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease, cancer, obesity, chronic kidney failure or a weakened immune system, the authorities said in a statement.
Relatives of anyone with those conditions are also encouraged to wear masks in crowded places like public transport.
“The annual flu epidemic is temporary,” the authorities said, adding they were looking to reduce the level of alert “as soon as possible.”
Wearing face masks on public transport has not been mandatory in Belgium since the government lifted nearly all Covid pandemic measures in May 2022.