Is Brussels heading the same way as Antwerp? "A curfew is possible, if necessary", warns minister

Is the situation in Brussels heading for much worse, like in Antwerp? Kenneth Coenye, a leading doctor at the Sint-Jan hospital is sounding the alarm: the corona epidemic is gaining ground again in the capital, and fast. The Brussels Health minister Alain Maron said the situation in Brussels is not as bad as in Antwerp yet, but added that "if necessary, we will go as far as Antwerp did."

Kenneth Coenye was speaking at the VRT's current affairs programme Terzake yesterday evening. He had some alarming things to tell where the latest corona figures are concerned - figures which are not yet official, but Coenye is working 'at the source', as he sees patients coming in when they show the first symptoms of Covid-19.

"We are doing about 500 tests per week in our Sint-Jans Hospital in Brussels. Over the past 10 days, we had an average of 6.8 percent positive tests. This is much higher than at the end of June, when we had 0.8 percent positive tests."

Sint-Jans had 6.8 percent positive cases lately, more than Antwerp. The question is how local the problem is

The present figures in Antwerp are around 4 to 5 percent. Coenye says the statistics are "really alarming": the number of positive tests has seen a ten-fold rise lately, he adds, in order to conclude: "I don't think we are far from the situation in Antwerp now, here in Brussels. Living conditions are also comparable for many people."

If the figures take a turn for the worse in Brussels, strict measures like in Antwerp may be on the table soon. Antwerp had a curfew installed starting last night, the first since the Second World War. Wearing a mask is mandatory at any time and anywhere in Antwerp province. 

Brussels not there yet

The Brussels Health minister Alain Maron says that the situation in the capital can't be compared to that in Antwerp yet, because Brussels is mainly dealing with local flare-ups at present, with which the municipalities are dealing. He said the Brussels Region can act very quickly if necessary, and the authorities may go as far as Antwerp province if required. "At present the situation is not as bad as in Antwerp, but if things change, we will act. Our health services are monitoring the situation with (the scientific institute) Sciensano."

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