Belgium is in the grip of a “fourth wave” of covids as virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise, Health Minister Frank Vandenbrücke has warned.
With a population of more than 11.5 million, the country has recorded more than 3,000 infections every day since October 13 – a nearly 50 percent increase over the previous week.
Some 6,552 cases were registered on October 20 alone.
From October 11 to 17, an average of about 12 people died of Covid-19 daily, a 32 per cent increase compared to the previous seven-day period.
This brings the total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic to 25,816.
Hospitalizations have increased by more than 50 percent in the past week, despite nearly three-quarters of people having their doses of both vaccines.
“The numbers are not good. We are clearly in the fourth wave,” Mr. Vandenbrücke told VRT Network.
“That in itself was expected, but we are going to see a very sharp increase in numbers in the coming days,” he said.
“Unfortunately, there will also be a huge increase in the number of hospitalizations. We have to prepare ourselves to deal with the fourth wave.”
Ministers recently relaxed the mandatory use of facemasks in Belgium, but are now encouraging the public to use them again to help stop the spread of the virus.
The health minister also said that he wants to make work at home mandatory in all sectors when the flu season approaches.
Even if the total number is still manageable, there are concerns about the curve rising again despite higher vaccination rates.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /