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    Coronavirus: Belgium reaches 13,964 confirmed cases

    Credit: Belga

    1,189 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the FPS Public Health during a press conference on Wednesday.

    688 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 349 live in Wallonia, and 128 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 24 other people. The total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 13,964.

    The total number of people admitted to hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment is 4,995. “This is an increase of 560 patients in one day,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. Of those patients, 1,088 are in the intensive care unit.

    However, 436 new people have also recovered and been discharged from the hospital in the last 24 hours. “That is a record,” said Van Gucht.

    123 new deaths have been reported, 56 of which occurred in Flanders, 43 in Wallonia, and 24 in Brussels. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 828. “Still, 93% of these people were over 65 years old,” he added.

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    “We want to address something we have heard from several doctors, mostly GPs. People seem to be afraid to contact their GP with their complaints, even if they are not coronavirus-related,” said Van Gucht. “However, people who do not feel well should contact their doctors. They can give advice, or determine what the problem is. The hospitals, too, are organised in such a way that ‘regular’ patients do not come into contact with patients with coronavirus,” he added.

    The FPS Public Health also took the time to clarify a rumour circulating on social media. “People are posting about how they have stayed in isolation for two weeks and feel healthy, and now think they can go out again to meet friends and family. This is very much not true,” Van Gucht stressed.

    “We have tried to divide the society into small groups, with the intention that contact between them is minimised. If we start meeting family and friends again now, we start building bridges between them, giving the virus free reign again,” he added.

    “The measures are not pleasant for anybody, but they have one clear and common goal,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson for the National Crisis Centre. “The majority of people respects the measures, and we want to thank everyone for that,” he added.

    “The number of deaths keeps increasing. The death toll is high, and every deadly victim is one too many. We would like to express our support, and we realise that the families and friends affected will have to say their goodbyes and mourn in very difficult circumstances,” Stevens added.

    “We must continue to take this situation seriously. The health care workers are doing everything they can to help, and we cannot thank them enough. Stay at home, and help as much as you can,” he added.

    Update: The number of patients confirmed with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium is 15,348, as of Thursday 2 April. Read more about it here.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times