Records have been broken in Belgium when it comes to the weekly average and the daily number of coronavirus cases being recorded in the country.
Between 11 and 17 January, an average of 31,780 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – up by 34% on the previous seven days, a slightly slower increase than seen in earlier weeks, according to the figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Friday morning.
The daily figures for Monday show more than 61,000 cases were recorded on that day, the highest by far since the start of the pandemic in Belgium. The rise in the number of infections is not expected to slow down as of yet.
The average number of tests taken per day in the same period remained the same since last week, sitting at around 88,116.1. The number of tests taken on Monday was not much higher than average, but on Tuesday and Wednesday, more tests were undertaken.
Meanwhile, the positivity rate continues to increase and now sits at 36.7%, meaning more than one in three tests undertaken is positive. This rate is also the highest it has been since the start of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020.
Despite the increase in cases starting around Christmas, a significant increase in Covid-19 deaths has not yet been recorded. During the same period, an average of 21.6 Covid-19 patients died per day, up by 16% since last week.
Total deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic amount to 28,759.
Some 2,700 Covid-19 patients hospitalised
Between 14 and 20 January, an average of 255.1 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day – up 39% on the seven days previous.
On Thursday, a total of 2,735 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 167 more than on Wednesday, and exactly 1,000 more than on the first day of this year.
However, the number of patients in a critical condition continues to decrease, as 367 (-20) Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care and 190 are on a ventilator (-8).
The reproduction rate (Rt) has once again increased to 1.27 after dropping to almost 1 last week. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person, and when it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) continues to rise and now sits at 3,369 over the past 14 days.
As of Wednesday, more than 8.84 million people are fully vaccinated – 88% of Belgium’s adult population and 77% of the total population.
Meanwhile, some 6.11 million people have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 66% of over-18s and 53% of the entire population. The majority of adults should have had the opportunity to get a booster dose by March 2022.
Data from the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that booster doses continue to provide high levels of protection against severe disease from the Omicron variant, especially among older adults.