First drop in corona hospitalisations in almost a month: "Hopefully the start of a substantial drop"

Last week's rolling average of corona patients taken to hospitals sees a 3 percent drop on the week, the first decline in four weeks' time. "We hope that this heralds a real change for our hospitals, because the pressure on our hospitals remains very high", explains Steven Van Gucht of the health science institute Sciensano. 

253 corona patients had to be taken to hospital each day between 2 and 8 April, a 3 percent drop on the week. Yesterday, there were reports of 250 new hospitalisations. 263 people were discharged from hospital. This brings the total number of corona patients in Belgian hospitals to 3,128. 

911 Covid patients are receiving intensive care, 515 of them are on ventilators. Compared to 7 days ago, the number of patients in ICU has seen a 15 percent rise. The questions remains whether the mark of 1,000 IC patients can still be avoided, even when the hospitalisations are starting to drop. 

It remains to be seen whether this is the start of a real drop. It is also possible that we end up on a kind of 'plateau', a status-quo, but a rather high one, experts warn. They underlined that the pressure on hospitals remains very high. "We are on the right way, but the road is still long. Now, our main task is to make sure we don't end up on a plateau. We need a substantial drop", Mr Van Gucht told the Friday press conference. 

We need to make sure that we reach a real drop now

What about AstraZeneca?

Where the AstraZeneca vaccine is concerned, it was announced that people under 56 years of age who have already got their first jab, will have the choice to get a second jab or not. It will be a personal decision; earlier the government had announced a temporary suspension in the administering of AstraZeneca vaccines to everyone under 56. 

About this subject, Mr Van Gucht said that "we are monitoring the situation in the UK, where many more people, also in the younger population, have already got their second jab." But so far, it does not seem as if the second jab would increase the risk of very rare blood clots. 

Belgium will take a final stance on the matter in the coming weeks, also after new advice from the European Medicine Authority EMA. For the moment, the AstraZeneca pause does not impact on the national vaccination strategy. 

For AstraZeneca, we are monitoring the situation in the UK

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