Coronavirus: available intensive care beds ‘key’ to lifting lockdown
Friday, 24 April 2020
"Even though several measures are expected to be relaxed in the future, I still expect and hope the figures will continue to decrease," said Van Gucht. Credit: Belga
The number of people infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) admitted the hospitals’ intensive care units is one of the main factors on which a relaxation of the lockdown measures depends.
“The number of admissions to hospitals’ intensive care units is one of the key parameters taken into account when dealing with the crisis,” said inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, who added that he could not comment on a specific threshold that would be required.
“We need to be able to guarantee sufficient capacity in the ICU, at all times. If that capacity is in danger of being exceeded, we have to intervene,” said Van Gucht, adding that people who could have been helped will die because they could not get the necessary care, if sufficient capacity cannot be guaranteed.
“We have not had that situation in the past and we do not want to have it in the future,” Van Gucht said.
On Thursday, Belgium’s total number of patients on intensive care was 993, which was the first time since the end of March that the number dropped below 1,000. On Friday, the number fell further to 970. The total number of hospital admissions has also been gradually dropping since the peak at the beginning of April.
“Even though several measures are expected to be relaxed in the future, I still expect and hope the figures will continue to decrease,” Van Gucht said, adding that the number of infections and hospital admissions can keep decreasing, even with more relaxed measures, as long as everyone continues to respect them.
“The basic rules, staying at home when we feel sick, respecting the social distance and washing our hands, will continue to be applicable,” he added.