Returns from Italy push COVID-19 tally higher

Speaking at the daily news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak in Belgium Belgian health minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) said that there were now six new cases of infection of the disease including 3 members of one Flemish family. All new patients are people just returned from hotspot Italy.  Some are being quarantined at home.  Others have been hospitalised.

In all Belgium now has 8 cases.

Maggie De Block: “All 6 new patients came forward voluntarily for a test.  They had all been in northern Italy.”

The names of the patients are not being released.

Maggie De Block on people in quarantine: “Their home is hermetically sealed.  Only deliveries are accepted.  Quarantine is a tall wall that means you cannot go outside and nobody else comes in.”

The patients are receiving a follow-up and can only mix with others when they are no longer contagious.”

Ms De Block isn’t surprised COVID-19 has reached our shores. “We were virtually the last country in Europe.  We were waiting for this to happen.”

Ms De Block was speaking after representatives of Belgium's various governments met to discuss the situation and exchange information.

Burgomasters of the 19 Brussels municipalities have met to co-ordinate their response.  Brussels PM Vervoort says that individual municipalities can't take measures as they wish and that the approach has to be co-ordinated.

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