Coronavirus: 320 new hospital admissions, 399 discharged
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    Coronavirus: 320 new hospital admissions, 399 discharged

    Credit: Belga/Dirk Waem

    1,329 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Friday.

    This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 36,138. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

    585 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 581 live in Wallonia, and 143 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 20 other people.

    “1,287 of those positive results come from the classical testing network. The other 42 come from tests taken in the residential care centres, which are still ongoing,” said Van Gucht. In total, 139,387 coronavirus tests have been taken in Belgium, of which roughly 5,000 in the past 24 hours.

    320 new patients were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours, and 399 new people have also been discharged, bringing the total number of people in the hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment to 5,161, a decrease of 148 patients.

    “Of the patients in the hospital, 1,140 are in the intensive care unit, which is a decrease of 42 patients,” said professor Steven Van Gucht.

    313 new deaths have been reported, of which 114 occurred in the hospital, and were confirmed cases. 199 of the deaths were reported by the residential care centres, of which 24% were confirmed, the others were suspected cases based on symptoms.

    Of the newly-reported deaths, 153 occurred in Flanders, 93 in Wallonia, and 67 in Brussels. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 5,163. “Of that number, about 48% occurred in the hospitals, and roughly 50% occurred in residential care centres,” added Van Gucht.

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    “The figures show that the strength of the virus is decreasing,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson for the National Crisis Centre. “The National Security Council decided that garden centres and DIY-stores are allowed to reopen from tomorrow, to be able to pass the time at home in a useful and pleasant way. However, we want to stress that during the opening of these stores, the measures still need to be followed,” he added.

    “The physical distance between clients, but also between a client and an employee must be respected at all times. A distance of 1.5 metres must be kept between people everywhere, that means in the stores, but also at the cash register or when going to your car,” said Stevens. “A visit to the stores can take a maximum of 30 minutes, and should be done on your own. Don’t make it a family trip,” he added.

    “Have respect for the safety of the employees and other customers. This concerns the safety of all,” Stevens said. “The common goal is very clear: the curve must go further down. Keep it up, together we can do this,” he added.

    Update: The number of patients confirmed with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium is 37,183, as of Satuday 18 April. Read more about it here.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times