STEPHANIE LECOCQ

COVID-19 latest: 82 new deaths, 536 new hospitalisations

A further 536 people were hospitalised with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.  The figure is down on the previous day when there were 629 hospitalisations, but there have also been 82 deaths linked to COVID.  That figure is slightly up from 78 on Sunday.

The figures have been released by the Belgian crisis centre.

In all 4,524 people are in a Belgian hospital with COVID.  927 are in intensive care.   696 are on a ventilator. Belgium currently has 2,650 critical care beds.

168 patients were discharged. In all 1,527 people have left hospital since the start of the outbreak. 513 deaths have also been recorded.

1,063 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, though the number of infections is believed to be far higher.

Virologist Steven Van Gucht says the force of the epidemic is clearly lessening, but that it is immensely important to continue our efforts to prevent a new increase.

“The number of hospitalisations remains high and will possibly increase further in coming days, but we clearly see the force of the epidemic is lessening. The rate at which cases are increasing is slowing down and that is thanks to the measures and our efforts”.

“If we don’t take the measures seriously, the situation will become unmanageable. We have to be strict.  We simply don’t have a choice.”

Dr Van Gucht also had a message for Belgium’s nursing homes: “It is important that we consider the mental health of the elderly in care homes.  We do not believe that it is necessary to isolate people in their rooms as long as there hasn’t been an outbreak in the centre.”