Belgium facing second 'mini coronavirus wave', Sciensano expert warns

Belgium facing second 'mini coronavirus wave', Sciensano expert warns
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Belgium is about to start the second "mini" coronavirus wave of the summer, which can still be contained if authorities take appropriate measures, a state virologist said at the weekend.

"We are undoubtedly in a dynamic which shows that we are at the threshold of the second mini-wave of the summer," Yves Van Laethem of public health institute Sciensano said in a TV interview on Sunday evening.

"We managed to gut the first one and to prevent it from becoming a full-blown second wave and we will strive to do the same for this second one too," he said.

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Van Laethem's statements follow a week which has seen the average number of new coronavirus cases climb steadily, hitting the 600-mark on Sunday.

On average, between 3 and 9 September, the average number of new daily infections rose by 39%, while the average number of hospitalisations rose by 58% in the period of 6 to 9 September, compared to the previous 7-day stretch.

Van Laethem said that the country would doubtless continue to see the number of cases push the daily average upwards, saying predictions by fellow virologist Marc Van Ranst that the country would be registering 1,000 new cases on average each day were not unlikely.

"With the current numbers (...) we are undoubtedly going to go beyond 800 new daily cases [on average]," he said. "I don't know if we will reach the 1,000 cases that [Van Ranst] predicted in around ten days' time — but I think it's more or less certain."

In order to contain this new surge in cases, Van Laethem said that what is needed is a "delicate alchemy" of measures for the long term, whose aim is to simplify living with the virus, and, at the same time, measures which can effectively keep the curve from continuing its climb.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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