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    Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 11,899 confirmed cases

    Credit: Belga

    1,063 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the FPS Public Health during a press conference on Monday.

    683 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 164 live in Wallonia, and 198 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 18 other people. The total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 11,899.

    The total number of people admitted to hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment is 4,524. “This is an increase of 536 patients in one day,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. Of those patients, 927 are in the intensive care unit.

    82 new deaths have been reported, bringing the total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic to 513, of which 46 took place in Flanders, 22 in Wallonia and 14 in Brussels. However, 168 new people have also been cured and discharged from the hospital in the last 24 hours.

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    “The number of people in the hospitals is high, and will probably keep increasing, but we can see that the force of the epidemic is decreasing,” said Van Gucht. “This is due to the measures that have been taken, and it is incredibly important that we keep following them,” he added.

    Additionally, Van Gucht drew attention to the importance of the mental health of elderly people, especially of those living in care centres. “It is not necessary to isolate these people in their rooms, if there are no positive cases in the centre. Paying attention to the social and mental health of these people is incredibly important,” he added.

    “Unfortunately, we still find that a number of people, across generations, are not taking the situation seriously,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson of the National Crisis Centre. “The police will sanction people who do not respect the rules,” he added.

    The National Crisis Centre, too, stressed that the elderly are extra vulnerable, both to the virus, and to become isolated because of the measures. “We need to support them, by sharing the official information with them, proposing the do groceries for them, and discussing with key figures in their lives how to best help them,” Stevens added.

    “It is only by showing solidarity with the most vulnerable in society that we are going to get through this,” he added.

    Update: The number of patients confirmed with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium is 12,775, as of Tuesday 31 March. Read more about it here.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times