In the face of Belgium's rapidly increasing coronavirus figures, Belgian health institute Sciensano and the National Crisis Centre doubled down on the importance of respecting the measures.
Over the past week, 1,952 new coronavirus infections were recorded in Belgium, which is an increase of 71% compared to the week before, with 1,142 new confirmed cases.
"The rapid increase is worrying," said Boudewijn Catry, spokesperson for Sciensano. "The number of patients in those hospitals is still limited for the time being, but this figure is on the rise as well," he added.
"47% of new infections took place in the province of Antwerp, but the number is also rising significantly in the rest of the country," said Catry. "Most infections are still occurring in the active population, which is people between 20 and 59 years old. On average, 279 new people were infected per day last week," he added.
"We are all thoroughly tired of Covid, but ignoring the virus is simply not an option right now. It is going to take some time to get the situation under control, so today, right now, is the time to change our behaviour, if you haven't already," Catry said, stressing the importance social distancing and wearing a mask that covers both nose and mouth.
"These little things can make a big difference, for yourself and the people around you," he added.
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The experts' predictions are not very hopeful, according to Yves Stevens, spokesperson for the National Crisis Centre. "However, everyone has an influence on the course of this curve," he said.
"Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has to adapt their behaviour. Not just a certain age group, not just tourists or residents of a certain neighbourhood. Everyone," Stevens said.
"Over the course of March, April, May and June, a lot of parties could not take place, and many were postponed to the summer months. Unfortunately, the reality is what it is, and now is not the time to organise parties either," he said. "A party should be a joyful event, not the start of a new supercluster," Stevens said, urging everyone to restrict their social contacts as much as possible.
Additionally, the Crisis Centre referred to Belgium's National Security Council, which is meeting right now to discuss stricter measures.
"These new measures, however, will only be effective if everyone conscientiously adheres to them," he added. "Please do not be foolish, we really cannot afford it," Stevens said.
The Brussels Times