Belgium will record about 500 new coronavirus infections per day by Christmas if the trend continues at the current rate, health officials stated during a press conference on Friday.
This means that the number of infections around the Christmas period will still be five times higher than in June, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
"However, in June, we were at the beginning of the summer, which made the suppression of the virus easier than it is now," he said.
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Additionally, as progressively more high-risk contacts and returning travellers will be tested again, the figures could be higher.
"With the end-of-year celebrations and winter approaching, the challenge of keeping the virus under control becomes much greater," Van Gucht said.
An average of 2,765 new infections per day was recorded over the past week, a 37% drop compared to the previous week.
"The figures halve every 11 days," he said, adding that the decrease takes place across all age groups, but is less pronounced among children and teenagers.
Additionally, the number of new infections is falling faster in Wallonia than in Brussels and Flanders, which will gradually make Belgium's different regions evolve to the same level, according to Van Gucht.
While the number of new hospital admissions is also decreasing at a steady rate, a total of 4,395 patients are still admitted. "Of them, 1,034 are in intensive care," he said. "This is still two times higher than at the beginning of May, when the first relaxations after the first lockdown were introduced"
The Brussels Times