Coronavirus: Brussels’ positivity rate higher than WHO’s alarm threshold
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Coronavirus: Brussels’ positivity rate higher than WHO’s alarm threshold

© Belga

The rate of positive coronavirus cases being recorded in Brussels has surged past a threshold of alarm set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), new figures show on Friday.

New data by health institute Sciensano on Friday showed that the capital region’s positivity rate per tests performed between 8 and 14 August was of 6.4% — well above the 5% threshold defined as alarming by the WHO.

In the given period, a total of 30,000 coronavirus tests were carried out across Belgium, according to the Belga news agency, with the country’s average positivity rate standing at 3.2%.

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While the positivity rate in the rest of Belgium’s provinces still remains below the WHO’s alarming rate even, last week’s numbers suggest the figures will continue to rise, potentially pushing some provinces over the health agency’s threshold too.

The province of Liège was last week already teetering over the edge with a positivity rate of 4.9%, while the provinces of Hainaut (3.5%), Antwerp (3.4%) and the Walloon Brabant (3.3%) were hovering around the Belgian average, ahead of the Flemish Brabant (2.6%) and Namur (2%).

Figures are the lowest in the provinces of East and West Flanders (2.2% and 1.9%, respectively) as well as in Limburg (1.9%), even as officials in West Flanders are under pressure to keep imported cases from fueling local clusters in the coast, following the return of youth travel groups from abroad.

Despite the figures, Brussels officials on Thursday decided against a tightening of the measures in the capital, delaying any potential decisions until after a National Security Council meeting next week.

News of Brussels exceeding the WHO’s test positivity rate comes as the globe’s top health authority says Europe is facing an alarming resurgence of the virus, warning that recent infection numbers have already blown past figures recorded as the first wave of the pandemic hit the Continent in the spring.

300,000 new coronavirus cases were detected across Europe last week, a number which as the epidemic first began to peak in the region in March stood at 264,675.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times