Coronavirus: infections climb again in Brussels as Antwerp lifts curfew

Coronavirus: infections climb again in Brussels as Antwerp lifts curfew
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New weekly coronavirus cases climbed again in Brussels as an overall trend of decline in Belgium continues, figures showed on Thursday.

In the period of 17 to 23 August, 916 new cases were detected in the capital region, putting well above the national average in a hike of 11% compared to the previous week.

The growth rate also jumped in comparison to that recorded on Wednesday, when the weekly increase from the period of 16 to 22 August was of 7%.

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The hike comes as infection numbers by health institute Sciensano point to a slowdown of the virus' spread in Belgium overall, with the latest figures again showing an 8% decrease in infections the country overall, for the second day in a row.

From 17 to 23 August, Sciensano figures showed that an average of 492.3 new daily infections had been recorded throughout the country. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the average number of new infections stood at 130.9 on Thursday.

It also coincides with the end of a month-long curfew in Antwerp on Thursday, lifted after provincial authorities said it had successfully halted an aggressive flare-up of the virus in the Flemish province.

Sciensano virologist Steven Van Gucht said that while the situation in the capital remained manageable, it was necessary to remain wary because of the "complex" turnover and flows of people coming into and out of the capital daily.

In the last nine days, 13 coronavirus deaths were registered in Brussels, out of the 42 recorded at a national level, according to Bruzz, bringing the overall death toll to 9,879.

After briefly sliding into the group of 13 municipalities above a new-case alarm threshold on Wednesday, Ixelles' new case incidence dropped below the mark of 50 new weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

But after the incidence rate of Uccle rose past the threshold for the first time, there are still 13 municipalities in the capital region who remain above the mark: Saint-Josse (117), Berchem-Sainte-Agathe (115), Molenbeek (101), Schaerbeek (94), the City of Brussels (87), Forest (87), Ganshoren (80), Jette (78), Koekelberg (73) and Anderlecht and Saint-Gilles (72).

According to Van Gucht, regional and local officials must keep an eye on the municipalities of Molenbeek, Schaerbeek and on the City of Brussels.

The Brussels Times

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