Belgium in grip of ‘fourth wave’ as Covid cases and deaths surge

·1-min read
Belgium in grip of ‘fourth wave’ as Covid cases and deaths surge

Belgium is in the grip of a "fourth wave" of Covid as virus cases, hospitalisations and deaths surge, health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has warned.

With a population of just over 11.5 million, the country has recorded more than 3,000 infections every day since 13 October - an increase of around 50 per cent on the previous week.

Some 6,552 cases were logged on 20 October alone.

From 11 to 17 October, an average of almost 12 people died per day from Covid-19, an increase of 32 per cent when compared to the previous seven-day period.

This brings the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic in Belgium to 25,816.

Despite nearly three-quarters of the people having had both vaccine doses, hospitalisations have increased by more than 50 per cent on last week.

"The numbers are not good. We are clearly in a fourth wave," Mr Vandenbroucke told the VRT network.

"That in itself was to be expected, but we are going to see a very sharp increase in the numbers in the coming days," he said.

"Unfortunately, there will also be a steep increase in the number of hospital admissions. We are going to have to brace ourselves to tackle the fourth wave."

Ministers recently relaxed Belgium's mandatory use of facemasks but are now encouraging the public to use them again to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The health minister also said he wants to make home-working mandatory across all regions as the flu season approaches.

Even if the total numbers are still manageable, there are worries about the curve spiking again despite high vaccination rates.

Reuters

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