Philippe, King of the Belgians has addressed the nation on Monday, 16 March 2020, regarding the coronavirus crisis.
Queen Mathilde and her children Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore, visited the OCMW nursing home Huis Heizel, which is near the Royal Palace, earlier that day.
They brought homemade cakes and flowers for the elderly residents who cannot receive visitors and support for the caring nursing staff, to help boost morale during the coronavirus pandemic.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have cancelled many official engagements, following government advice, and will maintain contact with health care providers and medical experts.
The Royal Couple have also postponed their state visit to Italy, which was scheduled from Monday, 23 to Wednesday, 25 March 2020, as both nations have gone into lockdown.
So far over 2,800 people in Belgium have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and over 60 deaths, where most of the victims had preexisting conditions.
However, the Royal Greenhouses at Laeken will not be opening from 17 April to 8 May 2020 as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
This is King Philippe’s speech in English:
My dear compatriots,
Our country is facing an unprecedented global health crisis. Belgium is today in a crucial phase to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Our authorities have taken their responsibilities by adopting drastic measures which oblige us to modify our way of life, for ourselves, but especially for the others and in particular the most vulnerable.
Mathilde and I think of each of you, above all of you who are affected by the disease. We think of you, our elders, who feel isolated, separated from your loved ones. To you parents who are led to reorganize you. And to you young people from whom we expect responsible behavior. Our attitude is essential. We can save lives.
On behalf of the entire country, I would like to thank those who are dedicated day and night to providing primary care and in our hospitals. We are aware of the exceptional efforts that our doctors, nurses and all health professionals provide.
This crisis has severely affected our businesses, our businesses, many workers and the self-employed. Most of the economic sectors of our country are impacted. They make courageous decisions to lessen the shock.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The current situation reminds us of our vulnerability but also reveals our strength. The spontaneous gestures of generosity and solidarity that have multiplied in recent days make me warm in the heart. I encourage them. Each of us has a role to play in overcoming this crisis. I am confident that we will grow out of this ordeal.
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