1,496 new people have tested positive for coronavirous in Belgium,bring total to 44,190 with 293 new deaths, 210 hospital admissions.

1,496 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Friday.

This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 44,293. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

602 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 646 live in Wallonia, and 106 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 142 other people.

“863 of those positive results come from the classical testing network. 633 come from tests taken in the residential care centres, which are still ongoing,” said Professor Steven Van Gucht of the coronavirus crisis centre. In total, 189,067 coronavirus tests have been taken in Belgium, of which 9,401 in the past 24 hours. Of the total number of tests, over 43,000 were taken in the care centres.

210 new patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours, and 322 people have been discharged, bringing the total number of people in hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment to 4,355, a decrease of 172 patients.

“Of the patients in hospital, 970 are in the intensive care unit, which is a decrease of 23 patients,” said Van Gucht, adding that of those patients, 681 are currently on a respirator.

190 new deaths have been reported, of which 91 occurred in hospitals, and were confirmed cases. 97 of the deaths were reported by the residential care centres, of which 36% were confirmed cases.

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Of the newly-reported deaths, 36 occurred in Flanders, 108 in Wallonia, and 46 in Brussels. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 6,679. “Of that number, 46% occurred in hospitals and 53% in residential care centres,” said Van Gucht, adding that the figures from the Flemish residential care centres were not included due to a technical issue.

“Later today, the National Security Council will decide on whether or not certain measures will be relaxed in May. We have to be aware that the relaxation will only be possible if we continue to respect the measures that are already in place,” Van Gucht said.

“The virus will continue to be present, in May as well. However, we can stay on top of it without increasing the risk of infection, if we keep respecting the basic rules. The first, and most important one is, if you do not feel well, do not hesitate for a second, and just stay at home. Immediately,” he said.

“The second one is to keep respecting the social distance from each other. And lastly, keep respecting the hand hygiene. Respecting these three measures remains incredibly important, regardless of what measures are relaxed or adapted,” Van Gucht added.

“The virus is still present in our society, and it will remain present in the coming weeks and maybe months. It is important that we learn to live with it,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson of the National Crisis Centre. “Our collective positive attitude has flattened the curve, and thanks to joint efforts, the situation has remained manageable,” he added.

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However, Stevens also stressed the importance of complying with the measures, even now that a relaxation of the measures is in sight. “There is a chance that the measures will be tightened again, if the virus flares up again,” he said.

“Solidarity has been our biggest asset. Let’s keep it up, today, tomorrow, next week, the weeks after that, and the months to come,” Stevens added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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