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Average number of new coronavirus cases increasing

Credit: Belga

The average number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Belgium is slowly increasing, according to the latest figures from the Sciensano Public Health Institute updated on Tuesday morning.

Between 15 and 21 May, an average of 2,382 new coronavirus infections were detected per day, up by 10% compared to the previous week,

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,049,822 cases of coronavirus infection have been diagnosed in Belgium.

However, the daily average of testing over the past week has also increased by 14% (an average of 49,189.7 tests were carried out) with a positive rate of 5.5% (down by 0.4%).

Virologist Steven Van Gucht said during a press conference of the crisis centre on Tuesday that this was no reason for concern, as the weekly average is being compared with that of the week before, which was a bank holiday week.

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Between 17 and 23 May, there was an average of 115.3 new hospital admissions per day due to the coronavirus, a 13% decrease compared to the previous reference period.

On Monday, a total of 1,533 people were in hospital as a result of the coronavirus (30 more than on Sunday), of whom 542 (the same number as on Sunday) people were being treated in intensive care, and 329 (-2) were on a ventilator.

Over the last two weeks, the number of ICU cases has decreased by almost 170 and is approaching the threshold of 500, set by the Consultative Committee as the boundary at which it would be safe to open up more of society in June.

Van Gucht said the coronavirus figures in Belgium “are continuing to evolve in the right direction,” adding that if “the current trends on intensive care continue, we may reach less than 500 patients on the ICU by the end of this week.”

Between 15 and 21 May, an average of 19.4 people died per day from the virus (down by 24% from the previous week), bringing the total to 24,853 deaths since the start of the pandemic in Belgium.

The incidence, which indicates the average number of new cases per day per 100,000 inhabitants, reached 277.2 over 14 days, down by 25%.

The reproduction rate of the coronavirus in Belgium last week dropped to below 0.90 and remained stable at 0.88 for two days. After rising to 0.93, it has now gone back to 0.90. When this number is below 1, it means that the epidemic gradually slowing down.

More than 47% of the adult population in Belgium has received the first injection of a coronavirus vaccine. This figure equates to almost 4.36 million people. Of these, 1,684,642 people (18.3% of the adult population in Belgium) have received a second dose and are considered fully protected.