“Belgium is not an island”: corona cases up for 5th day in a row

There’s been a further rise in the number of new cases of coronavirus.  510 new cases were recorded on average each day during the last seven-day observation period from 31 August to 6 September. There’s been a further rise in the number of new cases of coronavirus.  510 new cases were recorded on average each day during the last seven-day observation period from 31 August to 6 September.

The figure is 15% up on the week. The average daily number for the previous week stood at 445 cases.

Nearly 90,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Belgium since March.

Hospitalisations are up too.  On average 21 patients are being hospitalised a day – up from 17 the previous week.

Deaths linked to coronavirus continue to edge lower with two deaths a day recorded on average compared to 4 the previous week.

Before the latest figures were published Erika Vlieghe, who heads the panel advising the government on corona measures, said the continued rise in recent days was no surprise to her.  “Schools have reopened.  Holidaymakers are returning.  Belgium is not an island.  Several countries are noticing an increase.”

“We need to keep the figures under close scrutiny.  Are clusters associated with schools or family groups?  Is there a tie in to the workplace? Our message remains the same: use a mask, keep a distance and limit close contacts.”

The larger number of cases being diagnosed does partly reflect an increase in testing.

Bio statistician Geert Molenberghs notes: “At the end of July, beginning of August we saw a rapid increase in the rate of tests that came back positive.  In some Antwerp neighbourhoods up to half of all tests gave a positive result.  Today the positive rate is far lower: from around 1.5% - depending on the province – rising to 5% in Brussels.  That level is too high.  We need to get it down, but the rate of positive tests isn’t accelerating. Many people are returning from red zones abroad, get tested and test negative.”

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