Coronavirus figures still 'extremely worrying', says Frank Vandenbroucke

Coronavirus figures still 'extremely worrying', says Frank Vandenbroucke
Credit: Belga

The increasing rates of infection and hospitalisations in Belgium remain “extremely worrying”, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Belgium’s average daily coronavirus infections have risen by more than 42% since last week, the latest official figures published by the Sciensano public health institute showed on Monday.

"This weekend we filled a small hospital with covid patients, around 426 people were admitted to our hospitals. We will have to do everything possible in all sectors to bring the figures down," said Vandenbroucke on Radio 1.

However, he emphasised that it remains a “very important objective” to keep schools open, and said the goal is still to open the schools in a full and sustainable way after the Easter holidays.

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On Sunday evening, Belgium’s Education Ministers presented a plan with several extra measures to keep the number of infections in schools under control after being asked to do so by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during the Consultative Committee on Friday.

Vandenbroucke reacted to the proposals on Monday, saying they are "interesting and good", but that “we will have to pull out all the stops if we want to open the schools, and the catering industry on 1 May.”

“We also need to keep a close eye on the workplace. People should respect telework, and if that is not possible, employers should provide safer working conditions,” he said.

He added that rapid tests, which will be rolled out starting on Monday for workers in risk-sensitive sectors, such as police and firefighters, postmen, and customs officers, can play a big part in this.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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