Brussels schools and metro to reopen Wednesday, highest terror alert stays

Soldiers patrol on Grand Place, the city's main square, in Brussels on Monday.
Soldiers patrol on Grand Place, the city's main square, in Brussels on Monday.PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Brussels will remain under the highest level of alert for another week because of an ongoing terrorism threat, but schools and the underground train system will reopen from Wednesday, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said.

"The crisis centre decided to maintain the alert level four, which means the threat remains serious and imminent," Michel told a press conference, adding the threat level will be reviewed again next Monday.

"We want to thank the people for their calm and understanding," he added.

The army and police will continue to be deployed in force and the country will reduce the number of events with large crowds, for fear of a repeat of the Paris gun and suicide bomb attacks on Nov 13, Michel said.

But he added his government was trying to bring the country "back to normal as quickly as possible" while working with the security services.

It decided to reopen schools and the underground metro from Wednesday.

"For schools, that means that in the coming hours, we will guarantee a level of security everywhere on the country's territory," the prime minister said. "As for the metro, the aim is to reopen the metro gradually, but starting on Wednesday."

The rest of the country will remain on alert level three, which means an attack is considered possible and the threat credible.

Brussels has been locked down since Saturday with armed police and troops patrolling quiet streets.