Noppen’s comments coincide with a steep rise in the number of hospitalizations for coronavirus which has seen Belgian hospitals hike up their intake capacity of critical Covid-19 patients by delaying other urgent care.
From Friday, all hospitals in Brussels are set to shift into phase 1B, which requires them to reserve half of their ICU beds to coronavirus patients.
While the rest of hospitals in the country remain in a lower phase (1A), Erika Vlieghe, a virologist advising the government on coronavirus, said on Thursday that a general scale up to 1B was likely.
As of the latest countrywide figures on Thursday, over 1,700 people were hospitalised, with the average of new daily hospitalizations rising to nearly 170 admissions per day for the last 7 days, up from 130 a week prior.
At UZ Brussel, 8 new patients were admitted for coronavirus, bringing the hospital’s total to 36, out of which 10 were in the intensive care unit, according to the hospital’s latest coronavirus update on Thursday.