On average, more than 47,600 coronavirus infections are being recorded in Belgium every day, while the number of hospitalisations continues to rise.
Between 15 and 21 January, an average of 47,606 new coronavirus infections were identified every day — up by 77% on the previous seven days, according to the figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Tuesday morning.
Last week, between 55,000 and 62,000 new cases were recorded every day, which was the highest by far since the start of the pandemic in Belgium.
However, the average number of PCR tests taken per day in the same period has also increased since last week, as some 109,359.7 tests were carried out.
Meanwhile, the positivity rate continues to increase and now sits at 44.2%, meaning almost half of all tests undertaken are positive. This rate is also the highest it has been since the start of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020.
Despite the increase in cases starting around Christmas, a slight rise in the number of Covid-19 deaths is only now starting to show. During the same period, an average of 24 Covid-19 patients died per day, up by 12% since last week.
Total deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic amount to 28,835.
More than 3,300 Covid-19 patients hospitalised
Between 18 and 24 January, an average of 314.3 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day — a significant increase of 54% on the seven days previous.
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On Monday, a total of 3,303 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 264 more than on Sunday, and three times more than on the first day of this year.
However, the number of patients in a critical condition remains relatively low, as 371 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care and 176 are on a ventilator.
The reproduction rate (Rt) has once again increased to 1.28. 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) continues to rise and now sits at 4,531 over the past 14 days.
As of Sunday, more than 8.84 million people are fully vaccinated — 89% of Belgium's adult population and 77% of the total population.
Meanwhile, almost 6.3 million people have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 68% of over-18s and 55% of the entire population. The majority of adults should have had the opportunity to get a booster dose by March 2022.
Data from the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that booster doses continue to provide high levels of protection against severe disease from the Omicron variant, especially among older adults.