Danny Gys / Reporters

Virologist Steven Van Gucht: “The increase is continuing, but is also levelling off”

The 7-day average for the number of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus seems to be stabilising with just relatively small increases having been noted during the past few days. At Friday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Steven Van Gucht said “The increase is continuing, but is also levelling off. It is unclear how the situation will evolve. Are we heading towards a flattening off or will it go up again?”. 

Professor Van Gucht pointed to the fact that the virus is continuing to circulate strongly. “The percentage of positive test has risen by 5.6% and this remains very high”. The biggest increase in those testing positive for the virus is among those in their 20’s. Also among those over 70, a vulnerable group, the number of people testing positive is still increasing. However, Professor Van Gucht says that here the increase is starting to flatten off.  

The rise in the number of people with COVID-19 that require hospital treatment is flattening off too, although the number of people dying after having contracted the virus continues to increase.

"The curves showing infections, hospitalisations and deaths follow each other, but with some delay. We hope that in the coming days the slow down in the increase in new infections and hospitalisation will translate into a stabilisation in the number of fatalities”, Professor Van Gucht said.

The virologist went on to express concern about the situation in Belgium’s neighbouring country France. “More and more regions there are becoming red zones. If the situation worsens further it could be the case that next week when the Foreign Ministry revises its travel advice that the whole of France will become a red zone. We would like to warn you of this now”.

Travel to countries and areas or regions of countries that are in a red zone is “very strongly discouraged”. 

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