‘Start of infection wave’: Flanders to turn red on European map again
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‘Start of infection wave’: Flanders to turn red on European map again

Credit: Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga

Flanders will turn red on the map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) again this week, as the daily average of new infections in the region doubled over the past two weeks.

Currently, more than 3,500 people are testing positive per day, with an incidence rate of 264 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest figures by the Sciensano national health institute.

“We are at the start of a new infection wave,” virologist Steven Van Gucht told De Morgen, adding that “there is no reason to panic.”

The rise in infections is being detected across all of Belgium, meaning that Flanders – which is currently the only orange zone in the country – will turn red again this week on Thursday’s update of the ECDC map.

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In September, Flanders turned orange while Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region retained their red colour. Brussels even remained ‘dark red’ until last week, when it was reclassified as the regular red colour.

In practice, the consequences of the change will remain limited, as the colour codes mainly serve as an indication for the EU Member States to impose rules on travellers coming from an orange or red zone.

But for the time being, stricter measures are not on the agenda in Belgium, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. “The situation does give cause for concern, we must follow the existing measures strictly,” he told RTL-TVI on Sunday.

Additionally, while Van Gucht said that infection numbers must be taken into account as it gets colder this winter, the high vaccination rate means that there is no need to panic.

“The worst-case scenario of 1,000 occupied beds in intensive care, we do not need to fear that,” Van Gucht warned.

The next Consultative Committee, during which the country’s different governments will discuss possible changes to the current coronavirus measures, will take place on Friday 29 October, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told The Brussels Times.

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