Hundreds of Belgian municipalities pass the new-case alarm threshold
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Hundreds of Belgian municipalities pass the new-case alarm threshold

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Over 100 municipalities in Belgium are on track to become local hotbeds of the new coronavirus, as they pass the alarm threshold of more than 20 new weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

According to figures by federal health institute Sciensano, 101 municipalities across Belgium are on watch as the number of new infections continues to flare up.

Antwerp is leading the board with a total of 567 new cases recorded in the past week alone, with Ranst and Borsbeek following suit, with 21 and 11 new infections in the past seven days, respectively.

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Per every 100,000 inhabitants, the municipalities of Antwerp, Ranst and Borsbeek each have 108, 110, and 101 new cases of the virus, breaking past the alarm threshold of 20 new cases for every 100,000 people in a 7-day period.

Dozens of other municipalities are also well past that threshold, from the 88 recorded in the municipality of Boom —host to the famed Tomorrowland electronic music festival— to the 28 recorded in the small municipality of Villiers-la-Ville, some 20 kilometres northeast of Charleroi.

As authorities keep their eyes fixed on the area in and around Antwerp, where some experts have said a local lockdown is the only way to rein in the soaring infection rates, new cases have begun to pop up elsewhere in Belgium in the past week.

A total of 34 new infections were recorded in Charleroi and 28 in Liège, bumping up the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants there closer to the alarm threshold (17 and 14, respectively).

In the capital, the municipalities of Anderlecht, Saint-Gilles, and Brussels 1000 have also recorded surges of new cases, with each recording 15, 13 and 24 new infections in the past seven days.

Out of the three municipalities, Saint-Gilles is the only one who has so far passed the alarm threshold, currently having 26 new cases/100,000 inhabitants, with Anderlecht and Brussels 1000 currently both holding at 13.

At a new National Security Council meeting which kicked off at 9:00 AM on Monday, government representatives are expected to discuss measures to rein in the looming new wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with leaders expected to discuss local lockdowns and reduction of social bubbles.

On Monday, Belgium’s new average for new daily coronavirus cases rose again, now sitting at 279 new cases per day over a 7-day period.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times