Belgium’s rules could only begin to relax in March if trend continues
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Belgium’s rules could only begin to relax in March if trend continues

Credit: Belga

Belgium will only be able to begin to relax measures in early March instead of late February, if the trends continue to evolve at this rate, health officials stated during a press conference on Friday.

The number of hospitalisations is still declining, but the pace of the decrease is slowing, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

“We will be slower to reach the desired level of 75 admissions per day,” he said, referring to the threshold set by the government before rules could begin to relax. “At the current rate, it will only be in early March.”

On 5 January, Van Gucht stated that Belgium could reach the relaxation thresholds of 75 hospitalisations and 800 infections per day by early February, meaning that measures could begin to relax – after remaining stable for three weeks – by the end of February.

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Over the past week, 122 new hospital admissions per day were registered, on average, which is still 7% lower than the week before.

“However, we are seeing an increase in the number of admissions in Brussels, Antwerp, Flemish Brabant and Liège,” Van Gucht said, adding that this should be monitored closely.

In total, 1,908 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital, including 364 in intensive care. “These figures are respectively 5% and 9% lower than the previous week’s figures, and therefore continue to evolve slowly downwards.”

“The glass is both half full and half empty,” Van Gucht said. “Compared to other countries, we are still doing well. However, we are looking at a plateau phase, and the impact on the healthcare system remains high.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times