More than 16,000 new coronavirus infections are being reported on a daily basis in Belgium, while almost 300 Covid-19 patients are being hospitalised per day.
Between 15 and 21 November, an average of 16,100 new coronavirus infections were identified every day, a 53% increase from the previous seven days, according to figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Thursday morning.
Last Monday, according to an as of yet incomplete count (not all tests have been processed yet, so this figure could further increase), at least 23,621 infections were registered in Belgium, a new record, replacing the previous one which was set during the height of the second wave with 22,221 infections at the end of October.
Virologist Steven Van Gucht warned that infection rates are not showing any signs of slowing down yet and that reducing close contacts in our private lives must now be a priority.
The number of tests being taken increased dramatically by 34% (108,160.3), while during the last week, the highest number of tests taken in seven days since the start of the pandemic. The positivity rate has risen by 1.9% since last week, now sitting at 15.7%.
During the same period, an average of 37.3 people died per day from the virus, up by 33% from last week. This brings the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Belgium to 26,743.
Between 18 and 24 November, an average of 294.6 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day, a 22% increase since the previous week.
On Wednesday, a total of 3,397 people were in hospitals due to an infection (70 more than on Tuesday), including 686 patients being treated in intensive care (+30), with 367 on a ventilator (the same as the day before).
As a result of this worsening situation, the governors of Belgium’s ten provinces have jointly asked the country’s different governments to hold a new Consultative Committee to discuss stricter measures as soon as possible.
The virus reproduction rate has remained stable since last week, sitting at 1.12. 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 increased by 65% and now sits at 1,616.4 over the past 14 days.
As of Tuesday, more than 8.8 million people in Belgium have received a first dose of the vaccine, representing 88% of the adult population, and 76% of the total population.
Meanwhile, more than 8.66 million people are fully vaccinated, accounting for 87% of the adult population in Belgium, and 75% of the total population.
Almost 1.2 million people have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, including people from certain vulnerable groups and healthcare workers, to keep the protection against the coronavirus sufficiently high. The general population will receive a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine next year.