Key to containing coronavirus epidemic is now in Brussels, experts say

Key to containing coronavirus epidemic is now in Brussels, experts say
Credit: Belga

Whether or not Belgium has passed its new peak of coronavirus infections depends on how the situation in Brussels will develop, according to health officials.

Over the past week, the number of new infections reported has stabilised, and now even seemed to start decreasing. On Sunday, an average of 588 new cases per day over the past week was reported, whereas the figures fluctuated just over 600 during the last week.

"The Belgian figure is currently strongly influenced by what is happening in Antwerp," epidemiologist Brecht Devleesschauwer from national health research institute Sciensano told VRT. "A third of all Belgian infections are registered in Antwerp. There, the number of infections is decreasing (by 17%), which has an impact on the total figure."

The evolution of the curve in Belgium will depend on the situation in the Brussels-Capital Region, according to him.

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"In Brussels, we are seeing an increase in the number of infections. Today, we even see an increase of 42%. If that figure continues to rise so sharply, the national figures could go up again," said Devleesschauwer, adding that the "key to containing the epidemic" is now in Brussels.

Last week, the Region introduced the obligation to wear a face mask in public in all municipalities. The impact of that measure, however, will only be visible in the figures in roughly two weeks, according to the experts.

At the moment, the figures in the Brussels-Capital Region are doubling every two weeks, according to Sciensano.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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