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    Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 1,486 confirmed cases

    Credit: Belga

    243 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the FPS Public Health during a press conference on Wednesday.

    133 of the newly infected people live in Flanders, 66 live in Wallonia, and 41 live in Brussels. The FPS does not have further information on the place of residence of 3 other people. The total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 1,486.

    “Once again, this is an underestimation,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. “Most of the cases are situated in Flanders, Brussels, and the Walloon province of Hainaut,” he added.

    The total number of people admitted to hospital because of the coronavirus is 496, which is an increase of 134 people in the last 24 hours. However, a total of 31 people have also been allowed to leave the hospital.

    4 additional deaths have also been reported, bringing the total number of people who died from the consequences of the coronavirus in Belgium to 14. “The youngest person who died was 59 years old, but most of them were over 80, and even 90,” said Van Gucht.

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    “I think with yesterday’s measures, we are sending out a very powerful signal,” said Van Gucht, adding that the enforced measures will only help if the entire population takes its responsibility.

    “The stricter measures are necessary because hospital admissions are increasing rapidly. At the moment, there is still sufficient capacity, but if the increase continues in the same way, it will become very difficult,” Van Gucht added.

    The FPS Public Health also stressed the importance, not only of social distancing, but also of personal hand hygiene. “Washing your hands, and not touching your face, is incredibly important,” the FPS said.

    “Public health is the priority for all public services at the moment, and that should also be the case for all Belgians,” said the National Crisis Centre. “We are counting on the public to rigorously respect the reinforced measures. Stay at home, take care of yourself, and take care of others. That is the only way,” they added.

    Update: The number of patients confirmed with the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium is 1,795, as of Thursday 19 March. Read more about it here.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times