“We think Belgian hospitals can cope”

Virologist Steven Van Gucht of the Belgian crisis centre has commented on the latest Belgian figures relating to the corona crisis.  He thinks Belgian hospitals will be able to manage despite the influx of new patients, but predicts difficult weeks lie ahead.

At the daily national news conference where the latest figures are released the virologist repeated his belief that the force of the epidemic is lessening: “We hope to see a stabilisation in the figures relating to hospitalisations in coming days.  This does mean that new hospitalisations will still occur and many people will be in an intensive care bed”.

Prof Van Gucht warns that people who are in intensive care will remain there for between one week and many weeks: “This means the number of patients in intensive care wards can still rise significantly, even after the epidemic has reached its peak.  It’s possible we will require our full capacity.”

At present 1,021 patients are receiving intensive care treatment.  The number of available beds is 2,650.

Steven Van Gucht: “We believe Belgian hospitals will be able to cope.  If need be, capacity can be extended further.  However, difficult weeks remain ahead.”

Commenting on the death of a 12-year-old patient the virologist said: “The child’s condition worsened suddenly after three days with a fever.  The death touches us as a parent and human being.  We wish to extend our condolences to the parents, family and friends.”

“It reminds us that complications can develop at any age.  It is important to say that what happened is very rare.”

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