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Belgian hospitals told to postpone non-urgent care

Credit: Belga

All Belgian hospitals have been told to postpone non-urgent surgeries and move to Phase 2A, meaning that they have to reserve 60% of their intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients by 2 November.

Currently, Belgian hospitals still need to reserve half of their intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients, although some hospitals have already taken the step to 2A.

From Monday, non-urgent surgeries should also be postponed, but urgent surgeries and necessary treatments that do not require surgery (such as chemotherapy and kidney dialysis, for example) and necessary rehabilitation will continue. Regular consultations with hospital doctors and specialists, however, can still continue, reports VRT.

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The directive to scale up to 2A is now being generalised, according to a letter from the Hospital & Transport Surge Capacity Committee to the hospitals.

“The hospitals are being asked to phase out various elements of regular care for Covid,” infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe told Het Nieuwsblad. It was a difficult decision to take, she said, “but the situation is forcing us to.”

The “exponential increase in hospitalisation figures means that we are likely to exceed the number of reserved beds in phase 1B” within the consolidated national figures of Wednesday 28 October, the letter said.

By scaling up the Covid-19 capacity to Phase 2A, a total of 1,200 beds on the intensive care will be reserved for coronavirus patients to “proactively anticipate this inevitable need.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times