1,236 new people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Thursday.
This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 34,809. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.
834 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 329 live in Wallonia, and 64 live in Brussels. The FPS does not yet have further information on the place of residence of 9 other people.
“840 of those positive results come from the classical testing network. The other 396 come from tests taken in the residential care centres, which are still ongoing,” said Van Gucht. In total, 134,303 coronavirus tests have been taken in Belgium, of which 6,171 in the past 24 hours.
310 new patients were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours, and 455 new people have also been discharged, bringing the total number of people in the hospital because of the coronavirus at the moment to 5,309, a decrease of 206 patients.
“Of the patients in the hospital, 1,182 are in the intensive care unit, which is a decrease of 22 patients,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. "Of the patients in the ICU, 868 are on a respirator, which is a decrease of 21," he added.
417 new deaths have been reported, of which 127 occurred in the hospital, and were confirmed cases. 289 of the deaths were reported by the residential care centres, of which 31% were confirmed cases.
Of the newly-reported deaths, 146 occurred in Flanders, 197 in Wallonia, and 74 in Brussels. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 4,857. “Of that number, about half occurred in the hospitals, roughly the other half occurred in residential care centres,” added Van Gucht.
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"Yesterday, the National Security Council met, and extended the measures again. We believe this is absolutely necessary. In order to make the curve continue to decrease, and above all, to avoid a new resurgence of the virus, it is crucial measures to continue to respect these extended measures," said Van Gucht. "We have to persevere, but together, we can do this," he added.
"We need to be patient. If we release our hold too early, the virus will have another chance to flare up again," said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson of the National Crisis Centre. "These measures are very far-reaching for everyone, which is why residential care centres now have the possibility of allowing visits under limited conditions. This measure also applies to people who are unable to move around well, and are isolated," he added.
"Garden centres and do-it-yourself stores can also open again, so people can do some chores around the house if they want to. However, we urge everyone to also respect the social distancing measures here. Maximum 1 person per 10 square metres, and if it is too busy, we ask clients to go back later," Stevens added.
"These measures should allow the curve to drop further if we continue to follow them. Together, we can do this," he said.
Update: The number of patients confirmed with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium is 36,138, as of Friday 17 April. Read more about it here.
The Brussels Times