The average of daily infections between 7 and 13 July was at 115 new cases per day. This is one third up on the week, and last Monday we even saw a peak of 216. Virologist Marc Van Ranst and epidemiologist Pierre Van Damme are clear: the latest figures are absolutely "not good".
Moreover, Monday's 216 cases may be a bad sign. Yesterday, mayors sounded the alarm taking into account figures they collected themselves, taking soundings from their local GP's. Today's figures supplied by the scientific institute Sciensano may not even have taken these into account yet. "
Just a reminder: on 15 March we had 214 new cases per day. On 17 March the lockdown started", says Marc Van Ranst. "The only positive thing is that we are testing a lot more now: in March we probably discovered only 1 in 10 cases, now 1 in 3."
This is a wake-up call for all of us. Please continue to respect all basic rules
The rise can be seen among different age categories and in all provinces. "Looking at these figures, you can say that a second wave has started", says Van Ranst. Pierre Van Damme agrees: "The only thing we don't know is what this second wave will be like."
Marc Van Ranst adds: "This is a wake-up call for all of us. "Social distancing, mouth masks and limiting the number of contacts is crucial now. We know that not everybody is respecting these rules." Van Ranst hopes that, if everybody makes an effort, the second wave can still be stopped before its gains further ground.
Further relaxations are off the table now. Experts (and local authorities) underline that they want to know exactly where the infections are taking place. "We have no time to lose", says Pierre Van Damme. If the figures continue to worsen, the next Security Coucil (next Thursday) may impose new restrictions.
Meanwhile, it is hoped that contact tracing methods can improve fast in Flanders, as the system is still not working properly despite having been installed several weeks ago. "We are losing precious time", Pierre Van Damme (picture below) said about the subject, speaking before the corona commission in Flemish Parliament. "Waiting until the end of August, when it would be at cruising speed, is no option."
We are losing precious time as the virus is spreading fast again