Share article:
Share article:

Hospitals on alert: non-urgent care postponed

© Belga

As the number of hospital admissions in Belgium continues to climb, hospitals have been ordered to move to Phase 1B of the government’s distribution plan. All non-urgent care is to be postponed.

The order comes in a letter from the federal health ministry, sent in the face of an increase in hospital admissions over recent day. This morning there are more than 2,000 people in hospital suffering from Covid-19, with 523 of them in ICU. According to the latest figures available, 269 of those are being maintained on a ventilator.

Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke (sp.a) had earlier in February asked hospitals to move to Phase 1B, but at that point there was no mention of non-urgent care. And within days after the notice, the daily figures began to stabilise, so the change was moved to the back burner.

Related News


Now, however, the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the change is inevitable, including the postponement of non-urgent care.

That change alone will be of concern to doctors and patients alike. Already, people are reluctant to seek hospital appointments because of fears of Covid-19. That means that necessary tests and investigations are not being carried out as early as they should be, and a disease or disorder diagnosed at a later stage is always more difficult to treat.

Necessary medical interventions will of course still take place,” said Wendy Lee, spokesperson for the health ministry. “This is about care that can be postponed, so that the departments are not unnecessarily burdened.”

Phase 1B of the distribution plan means that 50% of beds in intensive care units should be reserved for Covid-19 patients – around 1,000 beds across the country. According to today’s figures, that quota is more than halfway reached.

At the same time, four times as many beds – 4,000 nationwide, are to be reserved in other departments. At today’s levels, that quota too is more than half-filled.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Record-breaking 770-metre highline installed in Freÿr, Beglium
A 770-metre long highline was installed at an altitude of 70 metres at the Freÿr Rocks on Saturday, setting a new Belgian record, according to ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Five questions to philosopher Philippe Van Parijs on Leopold II and embarrassment in Brussels’ public space
The worldwide explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, combined with the 60th anniversary of the ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...