From the number of new Covid-19 cases to the number of patients being treated in intensive care and hospitals, all major indicators of the pandemic continue to decrease in Belgium.
Between 17 and 23 May, an average of 2,299 new daily Covid-19 infections were identified, a 35% drop from the previous seven days and the lowest since mid-October last year, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Friday.
The positivity rate now sits at 17.1%, meaning fewer than one in five tests have a positive result. The highly transmissible Omicron variant, Omicron BA.2, still accounts for 98.1% of all cases.
During the same week, an average of 7.6 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 24% from the previous week and the lowest since the start of October last year. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,727.
This figure includes people who died of another cause of death, but who happened to be infected, meaning there may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths that were caused by the virus.
Situation in Belgian hospitals
Between 20 and 26 May, an average of 73.6 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — down 20% from the previous seven days.
The figure reflects how many people are hospitalised directly because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then test also positive for Covid-19.
On Thursday, a total of 1,101 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 120 fewer than Tuesday, while the number of people being treated in intensive care sits at 86, the lowest since July last year.
This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.
Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations
The reproduction rate is currently 0.85. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person. When it is below 1, it means that the epidemic is slowing down in Belgium.
The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has dropped to 355 over the past 14 days.
As of Tuesday, just over 9.14 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 79% of the total population. Meanwhile, almost 7.14 million people have received a booster dose of the vaccine, representing 75% of over-18s and 62% of the entire population.
The frequency of Sciensano's update on the epidemiological situation has also been adjusted: although it will "continue to closely monitor the Covid-19 situation in the country," it will only publish an update twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday – rather than on a daily basis.