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    Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 2,257 confirmed cases

    Credit: Belga

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

    302 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 90 live in Wallonia, and 43 live in Brussels. The FPS does not have further information on the place of residence of 27 other people. The total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 2,257.

    The total number of people admitted to hospital because of the coronavirus on Friday is 837. “This is an increase of 203 patients in one day,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. Of those patients, 164 are in the intensive care unit.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, 37 patients have died from the consequences of the virus in Belgium. “That means that, unfortunately, 16 new people died in the last 24 hours,” said Van Gucht.

    However, since 13 March, a total of 204 people have also been discharged from the hospital.

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    “We want to stress, once again, that it is not necessary to start panicking if you have symptoms of the coronavirus,” said Van Gucht. “For the majority of people, it is enough to sit it out at home. Only a small proportion of people have to go to the hospital,” he added.

    “We also have some good news,” Van Gucht said. “Five million mouth masks have arrived in Belgium. With the help of the civil protection service and the fire department, these masks are now being distributed among the sectors that need it the most,” he said, adding that most of them will go to the triage posts, to general practitioners, and to the hospitals. “And we are also expecting a new delivery very soon,” he added.

    Belgium has sufficient hospital capacity and intensive care beds with the necessary equipment at its disposal, according to the FPS Public Health. “Proportionally, with about 1,900 intensive care beds, Belgium has a lot of beds, and many are still free. However, the hospitals are also working very hard to make sure the capacity can be increased, if that turns out to be necessary,” the FPS said.

    “If we keep working together with the entire sector, we will be able to keep this epidemic under control,” Van Gucht added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times