Christophe Licoppe

Virologist says "We have now reached levels not seen since the second wave”

At Friday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht said the number of hospital of admissions of patients with COVID-19 could top 300 per day next week. Professor Van Gucht also said that the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care will continue to increase and will exceed 700 sometime within the next 7-days. 

"We are now reaching levels that we have not seen since the second wave”, the virologist said.

Nevertheless, it isn't all doom and gloom as the pace at which the coronavirus figures have been increasing has slowed in recent days.

“With your help we can possibly have reached a peak in the number of infections within a week”, Professor Van Gucht said.

Earlier this week the Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s, federal, regional and language community governments announced a tightening of the restrictions designed to curb the spread of coronavirus and prevent a third wave.

"The health and care sectors are now relying on us to help slow down the number of infections. Once again this is a difficult phase in the pandemic. But I really do believe that once we have beaten back this wave, the worst will be behind us. The vaccine and the spring are in sight”.

Number of patients in intensive care is a cause for concern

The sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 patients on intensive care wards is a particular cause for concern. There are currently 651 COVID-19 patients on the intensive care wards of the country’s hospitals.

"Occupancy is doubling every 27 days. At this rate we will reach the threshold of 1,000 patients in intensive care on 12 April. But we can perfectly well avoid this”, Professor Van Gucht said. 

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