While Belgium has never registered as many cases as now with over 30,000 confirmed infections per day, the fifth wave has not yet reached its peak, said virologist Steven Van Gucht at a press conference on Friday.
The increase in hospital admissions is slowing and the number of ICU patients is even decreasing. Given that Belgium – and, indeed, the whole of Europe – is currently experiencing another surge in infections, Van Gucht stresses that caution is absolutely fundamental as figures are likely to continue rising.
"Never before has so much coronavirus circulated in Belgium," he said. "Monday's provisional daily figure already shows nearly 38,000 infections, and we may also exceed 30,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday."
- European travel map now completely red as Omicron continues to spread
- Belgium increasingly recommends FFP2 masks: what you need to know
- Occupational hazards: twice as many infections in working population
The high percentage of positive tests – currently 28% – also indicates that the actual number of infections is much higher, Van Gucht says. "More than half of the people with symptoms between 10 and 40 years old currently have a positive test."
"Fortunately, the pace seems to be decreasing and the number of patients in intensive care also continued to decline. The situation in the hospitals remains manageable," he added.
Omicron currently accounts for 88% of all infections in Belgium. "For the time being, we do not see Omicron replacing the Delta variant completely. We also see an increase in the influenza virus, but there is no question of a flu epidemic yet."