Belgium in Brief: Facing 10,000 Cases Per Day, Lockdown Looms
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Belgium in Brief: Facing 10,000 Cases Per Day, Lockdown Looms

Credit: Belga/Wikipedia/CDC

Coming into the new week, Belgium is facing an ongoing conversation that nobody wanted to have. Another lockdown.

Facing mounting figures across the country, and the news that Belgium is currently the second-worst country in Europe for coronavirus infections, lockdowns and how to hopefully avoid them appear to be the big fear of the week.

Today Belgium has broken 4,000 new coronavirus cases per day, by the end of the week, it could be over 10,000 according to the latest warnings from the Crisis Centre.

Experts, for their part, have refused to rule out a lockdown, with federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke telling the news on Sunday that he was not ready to guarantee anything at this time.

“The only thing I can guarantee is that if we work together and all do the same things, we have the best chance of achieving what we want to achieve: to keep the schools open, keep businesses working and allow the hospitals to cope.”

So, with that in mind, let’s recap the news you might have missed over the past 24h (and the weekend too).

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. Over 10,000 new coronavirus cases per day possible this week, warns Crisis Centre

If the increase in the number of coronavirus cases continues at the current rate, Belgium will record 10,000 new infections per day by the end of this week, according to the National Crisis Centre on Monday.

“The coronavirus figures in Belgium continue to rise alarmingly,” said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht during a press conference, adding that a record number of over 6,500 cases were recorded on one day on Wednesday. Read more.

2. Belgium, the second worst country in Europe for coronavirus infections

Belgium is now the second-worst country in Europe in terms of coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fortnight, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The latest update to the ECDC map on infections shows a total of 16 countries in the hardest-hit category, meaning they have had more than 120 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks. Read more.

3. Belgium breaks 4,000 new coronavirus cases per day as experts consider lockdown

An average of over 4,000 additional people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium over the past week, and experts are considering a new lockdown in the country, according to Sciensano’s latest figures on Monday.

Over the 7-day period from 2 to 8 October, an average of 4,153.7 new people tested positive, which is an increase of 89% compared to the week before, meaning the number of new infections continues to rise sharply. Read more.

4. Mosquito that infected Belgian couple with malaria probably came in by plane

A married couple from Kampenhout in Flemish Brabant who died of malaria were probably infected by a mosquito that arrived in Belgium from Africa via the airports at Zaventem or Melsbroek, experts said.

The case is currently being investigated by the Flemish healthcare agency and the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. No details have been given of the couple’s identity. The fatal infection took place in late September. Read more.

5. Legalising cocaine is ‘something to consider,’ says Antwerp mayor

Legalising cocaine is “an option that people need to dare to consider,” according to the mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever (N-VA).

De Wever, whose port city is one of the European continent’s major entry points for illegal drugs including cocaine, was interviewed by the authors of a new Dutch book, Nederland, Drugsland, published today. Read more

6. Brussels police shuts down party with 200 people on Sunday

The police of the Brussels-Capital Ixelles area put an end on Sunday evening to a party in Neder-over-Heembeek, a commune in the north of the region.

“We were informed on Sunday at about 11:45 PM that a party was probably taking place,” said Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson of the Brussels-Capital Ixelles police zone. Read more.

7. Belgian ‘Coronalert’ app downloaded nearly 1 million times

Coronalert, Belgium’s application aiming to stop the spread of coronavirus, has been downloaded more than 970,000 times since its launch on Wednesday 30 September, Professor Bart Preneel, one of the application’s developers, told Belga News Agency on Monday. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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