Did Belgium’s Health Minister Ban ‘Non-Essential Sexual Activities of Three or More’ Due to Coronavirus Concerns?

Amid a worldwide COVID-19 crisis on March 21 2020, a headline circulated — “Belgium Health Minister Puts Ban On Non-essential Sexual Activities Of Persons 3 Or Greater In Indoor Areas.”

Often spreading without a link, occasionally the headline appeared with some initial body text in coronavirus meme groups:

Belgium Health Minister Maggie de Block has put a ban on all non-essential sexual activities of persons 3 or greater in indoor areas.

Health Minister de Block announced today that, effective immediately, “non-essential” sexual activities of 3 people or more are banned in Belgium to combat the spread of COVID-19.

De Block said she was forced to act swiftly because of Belgium’s reputation as being the “beer-drinking” and “group sex capital of Europe.”

According to the text shown here, Belgium’s Health Minister put a hold on all “non-essential sexual activities” between three or more people in indoor areas. A screenshot was posted to Imgur, where it was viewed more than 130,000 times in a single day:

One screenshot produced a reverse image search result from 2014 showing an individual named Maggie De Block:

Among the new faces is Maggie De Block, who will become State Secretary for Asylum Policy, Immigration and Social Integration (Ministry of Justice). The 49-year-old member of the Flemish Liberal Open VLD, who lives in Merchtem (Flemish Brabant), has also been surprisingly appointed for most of us. She has been a family doctor since 1991 and has been able to bring her experience into her parliamentary work in the Social Affairs Committee in the Chamber. It entered there in 1999. Maggie De Block has chaired the Chamber’s Infrastructure Committee since 2010.

The headline itself, however, originated with a satirical news site called World News Daily Report. At the bottom of the page, a disclaimer in the footer read:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

An article titled “Belgium Health Minister Puts Ban On Non-essential Sexual Activities Of Persons 3 Or Greater In Indoor Areas” proved popular in meme groups and on Imgur during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was satirical in nature. All items from World News Daily Report are not intended to be interpreted as news, just humor.

A variation on this hoax, purportedly from Bugliano, Italy is also circulating. It, too, is false.