Belgium fears a new wave of covid-19 after spike in infections

Brussels, Mar 19 (EFE) .- Belgian health authorities warned this Friday about the possibility that the country is entering a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic, after both infections and hospitalizations have increased around 30% in the last days.

“We are today in what could be the beginning of a new wave,” said today the spokesman for the Sciensano public institute, Yves Van Laethem.

Between March 9 and 15, the average number of daily infections rose to 3,266, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 822,801 since the start of the pandemic, according to data published this Friday by the Belgian Institute of Public Health , Sciensano.

And the cumulative incidence in the last 14 days rose this Friday to 347 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

“We have not seen such an increase since the beginning of the second wave, in October,” said Van Laethem, who noted that the increase occurs in all age groups, but especially among children between 10 and 12 years old.

The British variant is already the dominant one, representing 69% of the viruses in circulation, while the South African and Brazilian are below 10%.

The increase in hospitalizations is also worrisome, which was 27% in the last week, to an average of 185 daily admissions, raising the current occupation to 2,140 people, 543 in intensive care.

Van Laethem pointed out that if measures are not taken, on April 10, 1,000 patients can be reached in ICUs, a level that the Belgian health authorities consider a limit.

The increase in cases has led the Belgian authorities to bring forward to this Friday -one week ahead of schedule- the consultation committee to discuss whether it is necessary to extend the restrictions in time, already strict since October, to be able to relax them in May .

Non-essential travel abroad is prohibited until April 18 and bars and restaurants are closed, although the latter are allowed to deliver food at home.

Yes they are open, on the other hand, shops, hairdressers and beauty and tattoo centers.

There is also a night curfew and in terms of social relationships, only close contact with one person is allowed, outside the family unit and outside, meetings of up to 10 people are allowed, with a mask and keeping the safety distance .


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