Coronavirus figures better than expected but fourth wave 'still possible'

Coronavirus figures better than expected but fourth wave 'still possible'
Credit: Belga

The current major coronavirus indicators in Belgium are more positive than models had predicted in August. However, a fourth wave later in the year is still possible.

According to virologist Steven Van Gucht, the infection rates, as well as hospitalisation figures, are managing to remain relatively stable.

"That is a good thing, but the models still indicate that a fourth wave is possible in autumn or early winter," Van Gucht said during health institute Sciensano's weekly press conference on Friday.

Currently, the average number of daily infections has increased slightly to 2,059, up by 4% since last week. But it is important to note that testing has also increased.

Hospital admissions are decreasing slightly, as well as hospital occupancy rates and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care.

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Van Gucht stressed that a big difference can be seen between the Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.

"In Flanders, there is a slight increase in infections, while in Brussels there is a slight downward trend. This can probably be explained by a decrease in the number of returning travellers and the stricter measures," he said.

Meanwhile, in Wallonia, the number of infections is still on the rise, especially in the province of Liège.

Most infections are detected among children and teenagers, but with the start of the new academic year, an increase among young adults is also predicted.

As the models still show the situation could worsen, Van Gucht once again called on people to avoid taking unnecessary risks and to follow the measures in place to fight the coronavirus.

"Reducing risky behaviour by 20% can halve the burden in hospitals," Van Gucht said, adding that this can be achieved by wearing a face mask in crowded areas, ensuring good ventilation, complying with contact tracing, and respecting quarantine measures.

"Every transmission chain we can break contributes to a reduction in the number of risk contacts," Van Gucht concluded.

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