Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 26,667 confirmed cases

1,684 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Friday.

915 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 570 live in Wallonia, and 178 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 26,667.

462 new patients were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours, and 404 new people have also been discharged, bringing the total number of people in the hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment to 5,610. “This is a slight increase of 20 patients,” said professor Steven Van Gucht.

“Of the patients in the hospital, 1,278 are in the intensive care unit. The occupancy rate of the beds for coronavirus patients in the ICU is 58% at the moment,” he added.

325 new deaths have been reported, of which 114 were confirmed in the hospital. “The other 211 died outside of the hospitals, mostly in residential care homes, and are suspected cases,” Van Gucht said.

Additionally, 171 deaths that took place between 18 and 31 March were also reported by Flemish residential care homes, bringing the total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic to 3,019.

“This is a period of several religious celebrations, for many of us, this goes hand in hand with family traditions and gatherings. However, the experience will be different this year, unfortunately,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson of the National Crisis Centre. “We call on everyone to show understanding, and we ask everyone to keep respecting the measures,” he added.

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“Places of worship will remain open, but physical distance must be respected. Special services, however, are forbidden,” Stevens said. “Celebrations will have to take place in your own home, and only with the people living there. This is not the time to go and visit the grandparents, or a friend,” he added.

As this will also be a busy period for food stores, the owners have to ensure that social distance is maintained, stressed Stevens. “We also ask traders to anticipate peak moments by, for example, organise takeaway moments,” he added.

“We have been following the measures very well. We cannot give the virus free rein now. Keep up the solidarity, stay at home, take care of yourself, and take care of others,” Stevens added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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