Virologist says that “We have the virus by the scruff of the neck”

Speaking at Tuesday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht described the recent evolution of the coronavirus figures as “encouraging”. He added that it would appear that the downward trend in the figures will continue through the coming days. “We have the virus by the scruff of the neck. The thing is now not to let go too quickly”

"It is encouraging to see that the number of positive test result has been falling for two weeks. Two weeks ago, 10% of tests were positive. We are now at 7.3% positive tests. The European Centre for Disease Control considers 4% as a relatively safe level that will allow a country to be coloured in green on the map”, Professor Van Gucht said.

The fall in the number of infections is apparent in all age demographics with the exception of children younger than 10, where cases are up 22%. The largest number of new infections is currently among teenagers, although here too the trend is downward. "So, the age of those infected is falling as is the case among those being hospitalised. Half of new case are now among people under the age of 35”.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the country’s hospitals is falling too. At the current rate the number of patients on ICUs should have fallen below 500 by around mid-June.

"Below 500 (ICU patients) is an important threshold for us to be able to allow further relaxations of the measures. If we stick strictly to the measures and in combination with progress in the vaccination campaign, we could be below 500 ICU patients at the beginning of June”, Professor Van Gucht added. 

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