Belgium still at risk of coronavirus flare-up, ULB epidemiologist warns

Belgium still at risk of coronavirus flare-up, ULB epidemiologist warns
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Belgian leaders should remain wary as the country is still at risk of facing a resurgence of the new coronavirus similar to that gripping France and Spain, a Belgian epidemiologist warned.

An alarming surge of new coronavirus infections could hit Belgium as early as within ten days, Yves Coppieters, an epidemiologist and professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) said in a TV interview on Thursday.

Coppieters said Belgian authorities should look closely at what is happening abroad in order to be able to anticipate what could “inevitably” arrive in Belgium as soon as “within ten days’ time.”

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Authorities in France said new cases of the virus there were rising exponentially after the country on Wednesday reported a whopping 8.500 new cases within 24 hours.

Spain has also been grappling with a hike of new coronavirus infections, which has seen authorities backtrack on several relaxations such as the reopening of nightclubs.

Coppieters said that authorities in Belgium needed to take other countries’ situation into account and be ready for a worst-case scenario, even if the situation appeared to be under control.

“Maybe we are ready, in terms of hospital and testing [capacity] but we should always look at what is happening next door,” he said, adding that current positivity rates recorded in Belgium still indicated that the epidemic was being well managed in the country.

Coppieters’ warning comes as health authorities at Sciensano report a rapid hike in the average number of new infections, which on Friday rose for the seventh day in a row.

His comments on Thursday were echoed by health officials at a press conference on Friday, who said the virus was still present in Belgium and urged the public to continue observing safety measures.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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