The number of average new coronavirus cases being recorded on a daily basis in Belgium has now surpassed 6,000.
Between 19 and 25 October, an average of 6,096 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – a 68% increase from the previous seven days, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Friday morning.
Although this increase can in part be explained by the fact that the average number of tests taken has increased by 35% since last week (69,054.9), the positivity rate itself has also risen, now sitting at 9%, up by 1.9% since last week - the highest rate since April.
One of the measures announced on Tuesday by the Consultative Committee - the re-introduction of face masks indoors across the whole of Belgium - will come into force starting from today (Friday).
During the same period, an average of 15.4 people died per day from the virus, up 17% from last week. This brings the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Belgium to 25,976.
Between 22 and 28 October, an average of 129 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day, a 38% increase since the previous week.
On Thursday, a total of 1,417 people were in hospitals due to an infection (39 more than on Wednesday), including 258 patients being treated in intensive care (+3), with 118 on a ventilator (+3).
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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 Wednesday, more than 8.69 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 Wednesday, almost 562,000 people had received such a dose.
The virus reproduction rate meanwhile has slowly decreased to 1.22, 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 591 over the past 14 days, up by 131%.