Belgium in near lockdown over COVID-19 outbreak
Toni Waterman in Brussels

It's day one of the US travel ban, but flights to Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC left as scheduled from the Brussels airport this morning. It's unclear how many passengers were on the planes or whether these were so-called 'ghost flights'. 

Belgians, meanwhile, woke up to a near lockdown on Saturday morning. All restaurants and bars were forced to shut Friday at midnight and aren't scheduled to reopen until 3 April. Police walked the streets to enforce the ban. All events, both inside and outside, have been cancelled regardless of size. And non-essential shops are now closed on weekends. But in true Belgian fashion, frites shops will remain open.

Public transport remains operational, but with caveats. Tickets can longer be purchased onboard buses, and drivers are not opening the front door to passengers. The area has been chained off.

Belgian authorities also announced the suspension of all non-urgent consultations, interventions and examinations for an indefinite period. They hope this will free up medical staff to focus on containing the outbreak.