Danny Gys / Reporters

Virologist warns “Don’t make any extra plans for this weekend”

Speaking at Friday morning’s press conference held by the public health science institute Sciensano on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht warned of the gravity of the current situation. Professor Van Gucht told the press conference that “All the indicators are at red: the number of new infections, the number of hospitalisations and the number of deaths are all doubling on a weekly basis. This is disturbing”. 

On Friday afternoon Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments will meet to discuss the measures to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

"A corona barometer will be launched and there will be a series of new measures. The figures show that new measures are necessary. They will probably come into force from Monday. Don’t make any extra plans for the weekend. Don’t think “we’ll make the most of it while we still can. The sooner we change our behaviour the sooner we will be able to get the virus by the scruff of the neck”.

During the week from 6 to 12 October the average number of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus was almost 6,000. However, on Monday (12 October) 8,582 people tested positive, a new record for the number of positive tests in one day.

"The figures for Tuesday are still incomplete, but we have already counted 7,500 positive test results. Once the figures have been consolidated we will probably have registered more than 10,000 confirmed infections for Tuesday" Professor Van Gucht said.  

The virologist added that more and more tests are being carried out. "We are carrying out more and more tests. On Wednesday around 70,000 tests were carried out. However, sadly the number of positive tests is also rising. On average 13% of the tests produce a positive result. It is even more in Brussels and Wallonia and it is almost 20% in Liège Province”.

Steven Van Gucht also expressed concern about the growth in the number of hospitalisations. The virologist said that if we carry on at this rate there will be 500 COVID-19 patients in intensive care by the end of next week and that this will have reached 1,000 patients by the beginning of next month. “That is half the number of intensive care beds in Belgian hospitals”.

As regards the number of deaths from COVID-19, Professor Van Gucht told the press conference that there were days last week when more than 30 people died after having contracted the virus.

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