The number of coronavirus infections, as well as the number of deaths and hospitalisations as a result of it, is continuing to increase in Belgium.
Between 18 and 24 October, an average of 5,691 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – a 75% increase from the previous seven days, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Thursday morning.
Although this increase can in part be explained by the fact that the average number of tests taken has increased by 33% since last week (67,066), the positivity rate itself has also risen, now sitting at 8.8%, up by 2% since last week – the highest rate since April.
During the same period, an average of 15.1 people died per day from the virus, up 16% from last week. This brings the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Belgium to 25,946.
Between 21 and 27 October, an average of 125 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day, a 43% increase since the previous week.
On Wednesday, a total of 1,379 people were in hospitals due to an infection (65 more than on Tuesday), including 255 patients being treated in intensive care (-5), with 115 on a ventilator (-9).
As a result of the increase in hospitalisations, all hospitals in Belgium have been asked to progressively revert to phase 1A within two weeks, meaning 25% of the approved ICU capacity must be reserved for Covid-19 patients, and non-urgent care in certain hospitals will be postponed.
Although the level of infections has reached that of November, the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths as a result of infection is around seven and 20 times lower, respectively, as a result of the vaccine rollout in Belgium.
As of Tuesday, more than 8.68 million people in Belgium have received a first dose of the vaccine, representing 87% of the adult population, and 75% of the total population.
Meanwhile, more than 8.54 million people are fully vaccinated, accounting for 86% of the adult population in Belgium, and 74% of the total population.
Belgium has also started administering booster doses of coronavirus vaccines to people from certain vulnerable groups to keep the protection against the coronavirus sufficiently high. As of Tuesday, almost 546,000 people had received such a dose.
The virus reproduction rate meanwhile has slowly decreased to 1.24, after skyrocketing to 1.37 during the weekend. This figure represents the average number of people infected by each infected person, and when it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
The incidence, which indicates the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, has decreased slightly and now sits at 543.5 over the past 14 days, up by 122%.