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Belgium breaks 4,000 new coronavirus cases per day as experts consider lockdown

An average of over 4,000 additional people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium over the past week, and experts are considering a new lockdown in the country, according to Sciensano’s latest figures on Monday.

Over the 7-day period from 2 to 8 October, an average of 4,153.7 new people tested positive, which is an increase of 89% compared to the week before, meaning the number of new infections continues to rise sharply.

New infections have been surging in Belgium, especially in Brussels and Wallonia, with experts warning that if figures do not change, further action will have to be taken. Over the weekend, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke also declined to rule out a new lockdown.

The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 162,258. 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 as a result of the virus.

Over the past two weeks, 387.1 infections were confirmed per 100,000 inhabitants, an increase of 117% compared to the two weeks before.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of over 3.7 million tests have been carried out. Of those tests, about 38,300 were taken over the past week, with a positivity rate of 10.4%.

This percentage went up from 8.6% last week, meaning that even though more tests are being carried out – which naturally results in more confirmed infections – the epidemic is still growing.

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Additionally, 125.6 new hospitalisations per day were recorded on average between 5 and 11 October, up from 101.4 per day the week before.

In total, 1,329 coronavirus patients are currently in hospital, which is 72 more than yesterday. Of those patients, 243 are in intensive care, 17 more than yesterday. Patients on a ventilator number 109, 11 more than yesterday.

Over the week from 5 to 11 October, an average number of 16.1 deaths occurred per day, up from the average of 12.8 the week before.

The total number of deaths in the country since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 10,191.

Belgium’s reproduction number (Rt) is currently 1.39, according to Sciensano’s figures. This means that, across the country, one infected person infects more than one other person on average, and that the epidemic continues to grow.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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