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    Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 50,781 confirmed cases

    Credit: Belga

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

    This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 50,781. 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.

    179 of these new cases occurred in the general population, and 93 in the residential care centres.

    199 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 62 live in Wallonia, and 10 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 1 other person.

    116 new patients were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours. “After 3 days, this is a slight increase to above 100 again. This is possible due to a weekend effect, but we expect that this will decrease again in the coming days,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. “We see a decreasing trend of 4-7% over the past 7 days,” he added.

    The total number of people in hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment is 2,849. Of the patients in the hospital, 646 are in the intensive care unit. “This is a stabilisation compared to the day before, but the trend over the past 7 days is also decreasing by 3-5% per day,” Van Gucht said.

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    110 new people have died from the consequences of the coronavirus, of whom 51 occurred in residential care centres. “Here, too, we see a clear decreasing trend, of 6-11% per day,” Van Gucht said.

    “We are also reporting 229 additional deaths that occurred in hospitals, between 24 March and 4 May. 71 of these were not confirmed with a lab test, but with a scan that showed a clear infection,” said Van Gucht. 157 other deaths were not confirmed by a test or a scan, but the doctors have several indications to strongly suspect they died from the infection.

    The total number of deaths is currently 8,339. “From now on, all deaths that are suspected of being linked to the virus, or based on a scan, will also be systematically added to deaths in hospitals,” Van Gucht added.

    The Federal Public Health Service referred to a recent study published in the Netherlands, which showed that symptoms such as feeling generally bad, sudden fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhoea but also the loss of taste and smell may indicate an infection with the coronavirus.

    “Symptoms such as fever, a sore throat and having breathing difficulties only occur later. The loss of smell and taste, and muscle aches, were most often linked to a positive test,” Van Gucht added.

    “If these symptoms do occur, isolate yourself immediately, because it is then that you are most dangerous to others. Call your doctor for a test, because this is the only way we can determine with certainty whether you are infected,” he said, adding that the criteria for testing have been expanded since 4 May.

    “By doing this systematically, we can avoid having to tighten up the measures again in the future. This is the best guarantee we have of going back to a normal life,” Van Gucht added.

    Update: The number of patients confirmed with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium is 51,420, as of Thursday 7 May. Read more about it here.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times