For the first time since the peak in cases during the second wave cases are globally once again rising in Flanders.
New cases are still falling in East Flanders (-1%) and Limburg (-11%) but are rising in Antwerp and Flemish Brabant (+3%) and particularly in West Flanders (+10%).
In Brussels there’s been a 19% decrease in new cases with bigger falls in Namur and Liège provinces in Wallonia and a more limited decrease in Hainault.
Virologist Steven Van Gucht points to data from at home and abroad that point to infections that are especially passed on within households. The virus usually reaches households as a result of close contacts with friends and relatives at home and outdoors or via colleagues at work.
This findings underpin the need for homeworking.
The stabilisation in the figures means new cases and hospitalisations are stuck some two to two times higher than the goals set for relaxations: 800 new cases a day and 75 hospitalisations a day. Steven Van Gucht links the fact that figures are no longer falling to the reopening of schools and non-essential stores.
“Mobile phone data show an increase in mobility. Increased mobility often heralds an increase in the number of cases”.
Sciensano spokesman Yves Stevens reminds us that homeworking is obligatory in all sectors where this is possible. He is disappointed levels of homeworking have fallen: “We are calling on employers to show responsibility.”
The figures reveal a big increase among the young: up 33% in the 0-10 age category, up 41% among teenagers. Under 20’s account for 14% of all cases. Similar figures are recorded for people in their twenties, thirties and forties.
Steven Van Gucht doesn’t believe schools are the engine of infection. International studies show the virus is transmitted more readily from child to adult and from adult to child than among children themselves. However, he conceded that the reopening of schools involving 2 million children is playing a role as is the reopening of stores.