Since Friday last week, the number of new Covid-19 infections being recorded in Belgium has significantly dropped, reaching the lowest level since July last year.
Between 21 and 27 May, an average of 1,333 new daily Covid-19 infections were identified: a 44% drop from the previous seven days, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Tuesday.
The average number of tests taken per day also decreased by 30%, which partly explains the larger drop, while the positivity rate now sits at 14.1%, meaning slightly more than one in eight tests has 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 6.6 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 21% from the previous week and the lowest since September last year. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,754.
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 24 and 30 May, an average of 60 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — down 25% 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 Monday, a total of 952 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, the lowest since October 2021, while the number of people being treated in intensive care sits at 88.
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 0.82. 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.
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The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has dropped to 227 over the past 14 days.
As of Saturday, just over 9.14 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 79% of the total population. Meanwhile, almost 7.15 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.