BELGA

COVID-19 first: fewer patients in hospital

For a first time the number of people hospitalised as a result of COVID-19 has fallen. “The peak is becoming clearer” officials say.

New figures from the Belgian crisis centre show 205 coronavirus deaths in Belgium over the past 24 hours.  110 deaths were recorded in Flanders. This takes the coronavirus death toll to 2,240.

487 new patients were hospitalised over the past 24 hours, while 524 were discharged. The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 stands at 5,688.

1,276 patients are in intensive care – including 16 new patients.  1,008 are on a ventilator including 9 new patients. 

1,209 new infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours (544 in Flanders) taking the total to 23,403. 

“Together we will put this demon back in its box” said virologist Steven Van Gucht of the crisis centre. “The situation in nursing homes remains precarious.  We must support the care workers in these centres.  Just like the staff at hospitals they are playing an heroic role.”

On behalf of the crisis centre Prof Van Gucht noted that hearing the figures will be a difficult moment for families and friends: “We wish to express our support to all the people behind these figures.  However, it is important to continue to present the figures to the population in order to give a clear as possible picture to the evolution of the epidemic.”

The news conference also touched on speculation on social media that the weather could help tackle the virus.

Steven Van Gucht: “It’s true that respiratory viruses spread less easily in fine weather.  We don’t know for certain that this is also the case with coronavirus.”

The virologist stressed the best way to keep the virus at a distance was good hand hygiene and keeping others at a distance.

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