Other Belgian cities also risk Antwerp-like scenario, health experts warn

Other Belgian cities also risk Antwerp-like scenario, health experts warn
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Brussels and other major Belgian cities may soon be faced with the same resurgence of coronavirus cases as Antwerp, according to two leading health experts.

State virologist Marc Van Ranst said that the Belgian capital could be hit an Antwerp-like situation “within a week or two.”

“Brussels is heading in the same direction as Antwerp,” he told HLN, adding that in the current context of viral resurgence, both cities’ dynamic environments were fertile ground for the coronavirus to flare up again.

Van Ranst’s statements come days after authorities in Antwerp put the province’s entire territory on a strict late-night curfew, set to last for at least four weeks.

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Van Ranst’s comments coincide with those of epidemiologist Yves Coppieters, who, in separate statements to the media that, without the right strategy, most Belgian cities would ultimately heading down that same road.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before most major Belgian cities end up in the same situation as Antwerp,” Coppieters told Le Soir.

Coppieters said that several factors could explain the resurgence of the virus in Antwerp, such as its high population density and a high rate of international comings and goings, due to the city’s active economy.

The epidemiologist said that the situation was also exacerbated by a failure by officials to correctly keep track of the chain of viral transmission, as well as by the fact that the city’s population is overall young and less subject to testing.

“Antwerp lost control of the chain of transmission, and that’s what must be avoided,” Coppieters said. “If the situation is better handled, the resurgence can be better controlled. As long as we are able to identify [transmission] chains and contact trace, there is no reason that we should lose control over this.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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