Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 50,267 confirmed cases

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

This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 50,267. 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.

228 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 98 live in Wallonia, and 32 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 3 other people. In total, 16,729 coronavirus tests have been taken in Belgium in the past 24 hours.

59 new patients were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours. “This is the second day in a row that we have stayed below 100 hospital admissions per day. This is very good news,” said Van Gucht. The total number of people in hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment is 3,044. “This is about half of the number of patients admitted during the peak, at 7 April,” said professor Steven Van Gucht.

“Of the patients in the hospital, 655 are in the intensive care unit. This, too, is about half of the number during the peak on 8 April,” said Van Gucht.

80 new deaths have been reported. “This number is clearly lower than in the previous days and weeks. We have to take a possible weekend effect into account for the reporting of several figures, but regardless, these figures are very encouraging,” he added.

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“We also want to say something regarding the consulting of general practitioners and emergency services. There are a number of international reports showing observations of people who wait too long, or are afraid, to contact their GPs with acute symptoms. It is very important that you still contact them in case of illness or sudden symptoms, albeit over the phone,” said Van Gucht. “If it is necessary, you can still go to the doctor. We assure you, all measures have been taken to make sure that it is safe,” he added.

“Our second message has to to with the correct use of face masks. When you put them on, it is very important that you wash your hands first, before putting it on. You should also only touch the ribbons or elastics on the sides, and not the mask itself,” said Van Gucht.

“The mask should cover nose, mouth and chin well, and should fit your face well on sides. Do not touch it when wearing it, do not touch it in the middle, and avoid taking it on and off. If it is necessary to take it off, for example, to eat or drink, wash your hands again before touching it again,” he added.

“After the mask has been removed, put it in a clean place, preferably always the same place. We recommend wearing it no longer than 8 hours. However, when you use it intensively, such as teachers for example, or people who have to talk a lot, we recommend about 4 hours,” Van Gucht said.

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“Washing it mask should happen at 60 degrees at least. You can use it again afterwards, but only after it has dried. This is why we recommend having at least 2 or more masks, so it is possible to alternate,” he said, adding that they should never be kept in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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