Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 6,235 confirmed cases

1,298 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the FPS Public Health during a press conference on Thursday.

857 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 256 live in Wallonia, and 164 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 21 other people. The total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 6,235.

The total number of people admitted to hospital because of the coronavirus on Wednesday is 2,652. “This is an increase of 536 patients in one day,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. Of those patients, 605 are in the intensive care unit.

42 new deaths have been reported, bringing the total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic to 220. However, 128 new people have also been cured and discharged from the hospital in the last 24 hours.

“According to the models that we follow, we expect a peak somewhere at the start of April,” said Van Gucht. “It depends largely on how much we limit our social contact. The prediction is based on the assumption that our contact will be limited by 50%. If it is limited less, this situation will take longer,” he added.

“It is also very important to mention that when we reach the peak of the outbreak, we are only halfway. The period that will follow that peak, is still going to be very hard,” Van Gucht added.

The virus is transmitted via drops that come from our mouth and our nose, the FPS Public Health stressed. However, these drops do not reach further than 1.5 metres before falling to the ground. “This is why we always hammer on that social distance. The drops can still fall on objects, that we then touch. That is why hand hygiene is so important,” Van Gucht said.

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“Additionally, there is no proven cure for the virus yet. Tests are taking place at the moment, but nothing has been proven yet,” said Van Gucht. “We also want to stress that antibiotics do not work against viral infections,” he added.

“As was said by the experts, it is everyone’s responsibility to follow the measures, as this will determine for how long the measures will need to be in force,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson for the National Crisis Centre. “We receive many questions from people who are wondering if their summer holiday plans will still be possible. Once again, this partly depends on how strictly everyone follows the measures now,” he added.

“If not everyone takes their responsibility, the chance that this will still take a very long time, increases,” Stevens added. “Once again, take care of yourself, take care of others. Stay home,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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