All major Covid-19 indicators, including the number of new cases and hospitalisations in Belgium continue to increase, excluding the number of deaths, which continues to decrease slightly.
In the last seven days, an average of 101.1 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — up by 32% from the previous seven days, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Tuesday.
The figure, which dropped below 100 in mid-May, reflects how many people are hospitalised directly because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then also test positive for Covid-19.
On Monday, 1,283 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, up by some 200 people since Friday, while the number of people being treated in intensive care has started to slowly increase and now sits at 72.
This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.
Cases and deaths
Between 18 and 24 June, an average of 3,826 new daily Covid-19 infections was identified: a 38% increase from the previous seven days. At the end of May, this figure dropped to below 1,300.
The average number of tests taken per day also increased to around 13,000, up by 2,000 since the figures were last updated, while the positivity rate has increased to 29.2%, meaning almost one in three tests has a positive result.
Omicron BA.5 has become the dominant strain accounting for 60.2% of all infections. BA.5 is no more or less infectious than the other subtypes of Omicron, but it does succeed very well in circumventing people’s accumulated immunity.
During the same week, an average of 4.4 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 18% from the previous week. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,903.
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.
Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations
The reproduction rate decreased slightly to 1.16 after rising to 1.20 last week. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person. When it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
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The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) also continues to rise and now sits at 398 over the past 14 days.
As of Saturday, more than 9.09 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 78% of the total population. Meanwhile, almost 7.16 million people have received a booster dose of the vaccine, representing 76% of over-18s and 62% of the entire population.
The rise in cases and hospitalisations spurred the Belgian Health Ministers to call on those with reduced immunity to receive their double booster shot to protect themselves, as new mutations appear most frequently among immunocompromised patients.
The frequency of Sciensano's update on the epidemiological situation has also been adjusted: although the institute will "continue to closely monitor the Covid-19 situation in the country," it is only publishing an update twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday – rather than on a daily basis.