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    Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 559 confirmed cases

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    160 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the FPS Public Health on Friday.

    “This new number is an underestimation,” said professor Steven Van Gucht of the National Crisis Centre, who stressed that this is only the beginning of the epidemic.

    61 of the newly infected people live in Flanders, 84 live in Wallonia, and 8 live in Brussels. There is no more information available about the other 7 people. This brings the new total of confirmed cases in Belgium to 559.

    The Crisis Centre points to the measures announced by the federal government, and stresses their importance to contain the further spread of the virus in Belgium.

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    The numbers will continue to increase over the next days, according to Van Gucht. “The effect of the measures we are taking now will only show itself in the number of cases in a week or two,” he said, adding that the new numbers of today reflect people who were infected about a week ago.

    “We need to avoid that our health care system will have to deal with an overload, by a peak that comes too fast,” said Van Gucht. “If everyone follows these measures and cooperates, we can save lives,” he added.

    On Wednesday, three Belgians died as a result of the coronavirus.

    Update: This article has been updated to reflect the new number of confirmed cases as stated by the FPS Public Health on Friday afternoon.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times