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Virus reproduction rate reaches 1, first time since April

The rate of reproduction of the coronavirus (R Number) in Belgium has reached 1 again, virologist Steven Van Gucht of the Sciensano Institute of Public Health reported Thursday.

What this means, effectively is that a patient with Covid-19 infects an average of one more person, potentially worsening the spread of the virus. This is the first time this rate hit this number since April 4, during the epidemiological peak, when the number was recorded at 1.06.

This news confirms a statement made yesterday by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, who announced that Belgium’s risen R number amid a warning that infection numbers were not moving in the right direction.

The average number of additional infections in Belgium has climbed back up to almost 100 per day over the past seven days, according to new data published on Thursday.

The trend of new infections per day has risen by 12% over the 7-day period from 6 to 12 July, meaning that an average number of 99.7 additional people tested positive for the virus.

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According to Sciensano, the reproduction rate of the virus as of 15 July is 1, although there are still uncertainties about this. The R number varies between a lower value of 0.78 and an upper value of 1.25, said Van Gucht.

However, calculated based on the number of new infections – “as it should be done,” virologist Marc Van Ranst told VRT – the R number is higher than 1 at the moment, as the figures have risen again.

On 5 April, the rate had passed the 1 mark, and by 30 June it was almost there again, before falling slightly. But the number has been rising again since the beginning of July.

The Brussels Times