The number of Covid-19 infections in Belgium continues to rise sharply, as three times more cases are being confirmed now than three weeks ago, health officials stated during a press conference on Wednesday.
Currently, most infections occur in the younger age groups, but a slight increase among the elderly is happening as well, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
“More than 1,000 infections are detected every day, on average,” he said. “That is a sharp increase, the number is now three times higher than it was three weeks ago.”
The figures are doubling every eight days, and this rate will continue for a while, “but is not expected to increase significantly any further,” Van Gucht said.
While many infections are being detected in departing and returning travellers, there is also a real increase in the number of cases, according to him.
“We see this, for example, in the percentage of positive tests, which has increased remarkably among people who get tested because of Covid complaints or among high-risk contacts,” Van Gucht said.
“There is a strong circulation of the virus in Belgium.”
The biggest increase is seen in teenagers and people in their twenties, with half of the new infections occurring in the group younger than 24 years, with a peak among 17-year-olds last week.
“There is, however, an increase in all age groups, including the over-60s, in contrast to last week,” he said, adding that infections are rising across all regions and provinces.
Additionally, the infection rate – the number of confirmed infections per 100,00 inhabitants – is the highest in Brussels and Walloon Brabant.
“We want to remind again that not everyone is fully protected by vaccination yet,” said Van Gucht. “In Belgium, and in large parts of Europe, there is a large circulation of the virus. Respecting the basic measures and focusing on outdoor activities remains important.”