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Belgium in Brief: Further From 10,000 Deaths Than Before

Credit: Belga

On the day that Belgium was expected to pass a total of 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the total death toll has been readjusted to a lower figure, after fixing a counting error in Flemish nursing homes.

On Tuesday, Belgium reported a total of 9,996 deaths since the start of the epidemic, but on Wednesday, the number was brought down again to 9,878.

“At the start of the epidemic, the Agency for Care and Health in Flanders only collected grouped figures on deaths in residential care centres, meaning that a lot of individual data was missing,” said interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

After reviewing the figures in light of the initially missing data, 352 deaths that had not been reported yet were added to the count, but 473 have also been removed.

“This is because many of them were reported twice, once by the residential care centre, and once by the hospital. Sometimes the cause of death was not related to Covid-19 after all, those deaths have also been removed from the figures,” Van Gucht said.

So as coronavirus figures continue to dominate the news, here’s a recap of what you might have missed.

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. Belgian average drops slightly, 490 new coronavirus infections per day

An average of 490 people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium during the past week, according to the latest figures by Sciensano on Wednesday.

The trend of new infections per day has decreased by 8% over the 7-day period from 16 to 22 August. The average number of new confirmed coronavirus infections in Belgium continues to decrease. Read More.

2. Covid-19: Where to get tested in Brussels

As many people need to or want to get tested for Covid-19, here’s a comprehensive list of the possibilities to do so in Brussels, depending on whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms, and whether or not you have a prescription or an SMS code. Read more.

3. New Covid-19 infections rise in Brussels as national average keeps dropping

The number of new weekly coronavirus cases is rising again in Brussels as Belgium’s national average continues to decrease, figures showed on Wednesday.

The latest numbers from health institute Sciensano showed that, in the period of 16 to 22 August, the number of newly detected cases in the capital region rose by 73 to reach 896, an increase of around 8% in comparison to the previous seven-day period. Read more.

4. Only four in ten tourists returning from red zones get tested

Only four in ten of all tourists returning from holiday in one of the designated red zones to Brussels turns up for a test for Covid-19, according to official figures.

The red zones are areas in Europe – in some cases entire countries – where the level of infections is considered dangerously high. Anyone who has travelled to one of the red zones is required to self-isolate on their return, and undergo a test for Covid-19. Read more.

5. Storm Francis: 88 km/h winds recorded

Storm Francis has officially hit Belgium, with strong winds recorded throughout the night, Meteorologist David Dehenauw said on Tuesday evening.

The Westhinder measuring point, situated about 30 kilometres from the coast, but still in Belgian territorial waters, measured an average wind speed of 9 Beaufort. At 9 Beaufort, wind speeds range from 75 to 88 kilometres per hour. This is the intensity recognised when one speaks of a storm. Read more.

6. Brussels Airlines to require negative Covid test to fly without a mask

Brussels Airlines has announced that it will tighten rules on wearing a mouth mask on flights, asking for anyone who cannot wear a mask to provide a medical certificate and a negative Covid test before departure.

This move – which will go into effect as of 1 September – confirms an announcement by Lufthansa Group on Monday which outlined the new measures. In order to fly, a medical certificate must be presented on a form available from the airline’s website. Read more.

7. Belgium scraps hundreds of Covid-19 deaths after rest home recount

Belgium on Wednesday scrapped over 100 deaths off its national Covid-19 death toll after regional officials announced a recount of coronavirus deaths recorded in nursing homes.

“On 26 August 2020, the numbers regarding Covid-19 deaths [in the country] will be updated, following the reception of new data concerning deaths in Flemish nursing homes,” health institute Sciensano announced in a press release on Tuesday. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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