283 deaths, fewer patients need hospitalisation

Coronavirus has claimed a further 283 fatalities in only 24 hours in Belgium.  This takes the death toll to 2,523. 116 people died in hospital.

459 patients needed hospitalisation.  The figure is down on Wednesday, the first day since the outbreak that a fall was recorded.  483 patients were discharged from hospital.  In all 5,164 people have left hospital after recovering from COVID-19.

1,285 patients are currently in intensive care. Nine new patients were admitted.  The total number of people in a Belgian hospital with the disease stands at 5,590.

1,580 people were diagnosed with coronavirus during the past 24 hours bringing the total to 24,983. 

1,569 samples were taken in nursing homes.  The figure rises every day and should total 20,000 in a few days' time.

Prof Steven Van Gucht of the national crisis centre says that despite the small number of new admissions to intensive care over the past 24 hours, pressure on intensive care wards remains extremely high.  He expects this pressure to increase further in coming days, albeit slightly.

Virologist Steven Van Gucht has also responded to speculation on social media that freezing temperatures kill the virus.  Apparently some people are putting their facemasks or clothes in the deep freeze in the belief this will tackle the virus.  Prof Van Gucht says that the practice is pointless.

“Using a dishwasher for plates and glasses is effective as is the use of water with a detergent.  Washing clothes at 60°C will also remove the virus, but cold and freezing temperatures won’t”.

On Wednesday, Filip, King of Belgians, (pictured) visited University Hospital Brussels (VUB) in Jette to show his support for medical staff battling the emergency.