Between 12 and 18 October, 5,476 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections were reported to Belgium’s school health-care services, PSE, including 3,612 primary and secondary-school students, according to the national office for children, ONE.
The cases represent just 0.4% of the 900,000 students in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, but ONE noted that the numbers in nursery, primary and secondary schools had more than doubled between the second and third weeks of October, jumping from 1,696 to 3,612.
A total of 17,429 students and 836 members of staff were placed under quarantine between 12 and 18 October.
However, ONE said these figures were an underestimation since not all health-care service centres were able to submit complete data for the week of 12-18 October. For example, 21% of schools were unable to report the number of persons quarantined while the figures for total infections was also incomplete.
The increase in new cases was strongest in schools in Liège, Namur and Hainaut provinces.
In primary and secondary schools, the incidence of the virus, calculated over a period of 14 days, was at least 587 cases for every 100,000 students.
In primary schools, the rate was 365 cases for every 100,000 students while there were 1,117 for every 100,000 students in secondary schools.
ONE noted that 78% of quarantined staff members had been placed in isolation after close contact with an infected colleague.