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Belgium in Brief: Is It Slowing Down?

Credit: Public Domain/Belga/Wikicommons

It’s Thursday – just in case you lost track. One day from the weekend, and for many the start of the Easter holidays, whatever that means. While we can’t tell you when the lockdown will end, we’re still going to be here keeping you up to speed with the latest news from across the country.

So what is the latest in Belgium? Experts are saying a peak of hospitalizations could be reached next week, officials are warning people to stay away from the beach, and – as always – we have the latest figures.

With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Belgium reaches 15,348 confirmed cases

1,384 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19), confirmed the FPS Public Health during a press conference on Thursday.

912 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 317 live in Wallonia, and 137 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 15,348. Read more.

2. Coronavirus slowdown in Belgium is ‘confirmed,’ says epidemiologist

The slowdown of coronavirus in Belgium is confirmed, according to epidemiologist and FNRS Senior Research associate Marius Gilbert.

“The slowdown is confirmed, the peak of net hospitalisations/ICUs could be reached early next week,” Gilbert, who is the head of the Spatial Epidemiology lab (SpELL), tweeted on Wednesday, after the Belgian health authorities’ daily press briefing. “The increase in deaths is likely to continue beyond this date,” he added. Read more.

3. Ghent calls for probe into death of 12-year-old girl

The city of Ghent has requested an investigation into the handling of a call for emergency assistance for the 12-year-old girl who died of coronavirus on Monday.

On Tuesday, health officials said that a 12-year-old girl in Ghent had died after contracting the coronavirus.

However, a call by the family to the emergency services was not “at all” understandable, according to a federal police spokesperson. Read more.

4. Covid-19 isn’t gone because it’s Easter

© Thorfinn Stainforth/Wikimedia

Despite every media and government channel pushing that lockdown measures need to be followed to the letter, there is still a need to remind people that they don’t get to go to the beach just because it’s Easter.

This message comes from the Governor of West Flanders, who felt the need to call on people not to travel to the coast without a valid reason, despite the widely publicized travel ban. Read more.

5. No infections in Limburg’s smallest village

In Belgium, the Limburg province has been hit hardest by the coronavirus, with several hospitals even transferring patients to Antwerp, as they had surpassed the advised 75% occupancy rate.

The smallest village in the province, however, has zero confirmed cases of people infected with coronavirus, for now.

It is not entirely clear how it is possible that the virus has not reached Herstappe, according to the mayor. “It is not like the people are immune,” he said to Het Belang Van Limburg. “But I guess we are good listeners?” Read more.

6. Ok, so where are Belgium’s coronavirus cases?

As the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in Belgium has surpassed 15,000, and over 1,000 people have died, here is an overview of where the confirmed cases are situated.

Based on data from the Belgian research and public health institute Sciensano, here’s a closer look at where the cases are the most concentrated. Read more.

7. Brussels’ tap water contains no more chlorine than usual

The composition and origin of the tap water in Brussels have not changed since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Vivaqua, the inter-municipal company responsible for the distribution of running water in the region, said.

Anything you have heard otherwise is, likely, a hoax. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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