Days after the number of new Covid-19 cases started rising again in Belgium, the number of new hospitalisations as a result of the virus is also starting to increase.
Between 3 and 9 June, an average of 55 patients suffering from Covid-19 was admitted to hospitals each day — up by 6% from the previous seven days, and the first increase recorded in this figure in weeks, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Friday.
The figure reflects how many people are hospitalised directly because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then also test positive for Covid-19.
On Thursday, 890 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, a slight increase from earlier this week, while the number of people being treated in intensive care continues to slowly decrease and now sits at 71.
This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.
Cases and deaths
Between 1 and 7 June, an average of 1,357 new daily Covid-19 infections was identified: a 3% increase from the previous seven days.
The average number of tests taken per day increased since last week, which in part explains the rise in cases, while the positivity rate now sits at 15.3% — a slight increase since earlier this week — meaning more than one in eight tests has a positive result,
The highly transmissible Omicron variant, Omicron BA.2, accounts for 88.4% of all cases.
During the same week, an average of 6.4 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 2% from the previous week. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,816.
This figure includes people who died of another cause of death, but who happened to be infected, meaning there may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths that were caused by the virus.
Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations
The reproduction rate has increased to 1.03, the first time it surpasses 1 in weeks. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person. When it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
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The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) still continues to decline and now sits at 162 over the past 14 days.
As of Tuesday, more than 9.14 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 79% of the total population. Meanwhile, more than 7.15 million people have received a booster dose of the vaccine, representing 75% of over-18s and 62% of the entire population.
The frequency of Sciensano's update on the epidemiological situation has also been adjusted: although the institute will "continue to closely monitor the Covid-19 situation in the country," it is only publishing an update twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday – rather than on a daily basis.