A 74-year-old coronavirus patient in Brussels who was initially reported as dead by media remains hospitalised but is in a “worrying” state.
A communication error from the cabinet of Health Minister Maggie De Block led officials to confirm to HLN that the man had died, before rectifying the statements.
The patient “was in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and who had recently returned from northern Italy,” a spokesperson for the federal public health service (SPF Santé), Vinciane Charlier, told La Libre.
The outbreak of the new Covid-19 coronavirus has crippled Italy, where a surge in the number of confirmed cases and a mounting death toll have made it the second most affected country, just after China, where the outbreak originated.
In an effort to rein in the virus’ spread in the country, authorities on Monday put the entire country on lockdown, a step up from measures initially applied only to the northern regions.
Charlier said that the patient had been hospitalised for a few days and that he was in a “worrying condition,” currently cared for at one of the sites of the Cliniques de l’Europe facilities in Brussels.
The man is reportedly suffering from pneumonia, one of the most serious outcomes of the virus, according to reports by HLN.
“Several patients being treated in hospitals across Belgium are in a worrying state,” Charlier said. “They are mainly elderly patients who already had health issues or history.”
“Some were returning from risky areas and others became infected in Belgium after coming in contact with a person contaminated with the virus,” she added.
On Monday, government leaders in Belgium said that the country would enter an “enhanced Phase 2” of a risk management plan against the virus, stopping short of raising the threat level higher.
In a daily press conference about the coronavirus, health officials are expected to update the count of confirmed cases in Belgium at around noon on Tuesday.