Belgium is currently still among the countries reporting the most coronavirus-related deaths per inhabitant in Europe, health officials said during a press conference on Friday.
“Based on the number of registered Covid-19 deaths, Belgium is still at the forefront in Europe, together with the Czech Republic and Bulgaria,” virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht said.
On Thursday, Belgium passed the mark of 16,000 coronavirus deaths, according to Sciensano’s official figures.
However, the number of deaths is decreasing slightly faster than last week, he added. On average, 149 new deaths per day were reported this week, a 21% drop compared to the week before.
“If we look at the excess mortality, we see that its rate has also been remarkably high in a number of other countries since the end of October, sometimes even higher than in Belgium,” Van Gucht said, pointing to Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Spain and France.
This suggests that there are still many differences in how deaths are recorded in different countries in Europe, according to him.
The excess mortality rate is a calculation that often comes up in the aftermath of a heatwave or a flu epidemic, and describes the number of deaths resulting from that event, minus the number of deaths that would be expected at that time of year in normal circumstances.
In April, the high death rate made headlines worldwide, as the country’s counting system, which also includes suspected deaths, was criticised by experts and politicians both for giving Belgium a bad reputation.
“In Belgium, just as in the first wave, the number of registered Covid-19 deaths matches the excess mortality rate very well,” he added.
The Brussels Times