Professor Van Gucht says that we have shown that less stringent corona measures can work

Speaking at Friday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht the latest figures on the coronavirus pandemic give us hope that a third wave of the pandemic can be averted in Belgium. 

The tone of the press conference was cautious, yet upbeat. Professor Van Gucht said that the impact of the vaccination campaign is already evident in the country’s care homes. 

Outbreaks of coronavirus are becoming rarer and fewer and fewer deaths are being recorded. Furthermore, there is also a big fall in the number of care home residents requiring hospital treatment. “This is hopeful and shows us that a solution is in reach”, Professor Van Gucht said. 

The virologist added that "At the same time we should not be blinded by this glimmer of hope. The virus remains in circulation and remains as dangerous as it was as at the start of the vaccination campaign. Despite the fall in the number of deaths among those under the age of 85 we now see an increase among those under the age of 85. It remains crucial that we continue to abide by the measures during this transitional period in order to protect the section of the population that had not yet been vaccinated”. 51% of infections are with the British variant of the virus. This means that this is the dominant variant. Infections with the South African and Brazilian variants remain limited to 4.4% and 1.9% of the total”. 

However, the average number of new infections is evolving favourably. In Flanders the number of infections has fallen by 4% in a week, in Wallonia there is an 8% increase, while the number of new infections is up 16% in Brussels. 

"This has raised hope that a third wave can be averted. We continue to do better than other European countries. We have seen that less stringent measures can work if they are supported and observed by the population”. As regards the increase in hospitalisations Professor Van Gucht said that “We hope that the stabilisation in the infection figures will quickly translate into a stabilisation in the number hospitalisations”.


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