“Let’s prove a soft lockdown can turn the tide!”

Steven Van Gucht, the head of the Belgian science health institute Sciensano, has commented on the latest corona figures after the number of new cases rose for a third day in a row.  Across the country cases are up 8% on the week, but there are wide regional variations.

“It’s above all in Flanders that case numbers are increasing” says the virologist.  In Flanders case numbers have risen 13% compared with only a week ago. For Wallonia the figure was only 4%.”

A figure above one indicates the epidemic is widening.  The highest number of new cases has been identified in Antwerp Province, East and West Flanders.

Belgium’s Reproduction or R-number – indicating the number of people one sick person infects has been approaching 1 for a number of days. 

Overall hospitalisations are still falling, but here too there are major regional differences.  “In Hainault, Luxemburg Province and East Flanders hospitalisations are still falling.  Elsewhere they are on the rise.  In Flemish Brabant and West Flanders hospitalisations are up 2%.  In Antwerp Province the figure is up 17%” says Prof Van Gucht.

The virologist noted the next days will be crucial.  He suggested that following existing rules religiously could be enough to swing the trend: “Stay at home as much as possible, limit your contacts, work from home as much as possible.  If that’s not possible, keep colleagues at a distance, especially during breaks and at mealtimes.  Let’s prove a soft lockdown can turn the tide! The fact that all of us reduced our mobility in recent days is giving me hope.”

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