Belgium in Brief: The Same ‘As France And The Netherlands’
Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Despite the best intentions, Belgium is following the same course as France and the Netherlands, according to health officials in the country.
The expected stabilisation of Belgium’s coronavirus cases did not come to pass, as the number of new cases not only keeps rising, but is beginning to accelerate in the country, experts warned.
“The stabilisation that we had hoped for only last week has not continued,” virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht said on Monday. “On the contrary, we are once again seeing a clear increase in cases, in all provinces and all age groups.”
With a daily average of over 2,100 new confirmed cases over the past week, the virus in Belgium is “following the same course as France and the Netherlands,” according to him. France recorded almost 17,00 new cases in one day this weekend and placed Paris on “maximum alert” yesterday, and the Netherlands also reported over 4,000 new infections in 24 hours on Sunday.
Within Belgium, hospital numbers continue to cause concern amid a generally ‘derailing’ situation in the country and rising figures.
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Brussels hospitals are struggling under the pressure caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the impact is starting to be seen, according to the head of the intensive care unit at the UZ Brussel.
Despite coronavirus patients occupying fewer beds than they have in previous months, the situation in Brussels is still dire, Elisabeth De Waele told ‘De afspraak’ on Monday evening.
“At the moment there are already people with brain tumours who have been rescheduled because we just don’t have an intensive bed. We can hardly cope with this any more,” De Waele explained. Read more.
A total number of ten countries are now coloured red on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) coronavirus map, meaning they crossed the threshold of 120 confirmed infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.
After nine countries, including Belgium, have been red for several days or weeks now, the United Kingdom has become red in the map’s latest update.
Spain (319 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks), the Czech Republic (303/100,000), France (245), the Netherlands (231), Belgium (206), Luxembourg (161), Iceland (158), Hungary (129) and Denmark (128) are now joined by the UK (135). Read more.
Belgian railway company SNCB will speed up the adaptation of its stations so that people with reduced mobility will eventually be able to take the train independently.
The railway company will also adapt the design of its new double-decker trains with the upcoming order to bridge the difference in height with the platforms. The modified trains could be used “in the coming years,” according to a spokesman. Read more.