Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has announced a detailed plan to gradually lift the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

Under new rules, all shops will be allowed to open their doors again from 11 May, with schools reopening the following week – albeit with a cap on pupil numbers in each class.

But Ms Wilmès cautioned that “nothing is set in stone”.

More than 45,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Belgium.

More than 6,900 deaths have been recorded in the nation of 11.4 million – the highest rate per capita in Europe. More than half the fatalities have been in care homes, and the number of deaths in hospitals has been falling.

Another 241 deaths were reported on Saturday, of which 164 were in care homes and 72 in hospital. The number of people being treated in intensive care has fallen to 934.

Comparisons with other European countries may be somewhat misleading, as some countries are believed to be under-reporting deaths, while Belgium includes suspected cases in care homes.