The number of new coronavirus cases in Belgium is, as was expected, continuing to rapidly incline, and remains above the 20,000 mark.
Between 1 and 7 January, an average of 20,264 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – up by 85% on the previous seven days, according to figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday last week, the highest number of new cases was recorded since the start of the pandemic in Belgium (28,045). The increase in cases is expected to continue for several weeks, while a peak of between 30,000 and 125,000 cases can be expected in mid-January, depending on the testing capacity.
The average number of tests taken per day in the same period has started its steep climb, and is up by 20% from last week, sitting at around 78,770.4. The positivity rate has also increased rapidly, with more than a quarter of all undertaken coronavirus tests (26.2%) now showing a positive result.
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Meanwhile, the decline in Covid-19 deaths continues. During the same period, an average of 18.3 Covid-19 patients died per day, down 24% since last week. Total deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 28,518.
Slowed down increase in hospitalisations
Between 4 and 10 January, an average of 182 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day – up 17% on the seven days previous.
On Monday, a total of 1,962 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection (75 more than on Sunday), however, the number of critically ill infected people has stagnated, with 437 being treated in intensive care (-5) and 244 on a ventilator (-18).
The reproduction rate (Rt) has dropped to 1.08. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person, and when it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has risen to 1,897 over the past 14 days.
As of Sunday, more than 8.81 million people are fully vaccinated – 88% of Belgium's adult population and 77% of the total population.
Meanwhile, some 5.15 million people have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 56% of over -18s and 45% of the entire population. The majority of adults should have had the opportunity to get a booster dose by March 2022.