COVID-19 cases spike in Belgium; govt poised for action

Coronavirus indicators are shooting upward in Belgium, pushing the government on Tuesday to consider re-imposing some pandemic measures that it only relaxed a few weeks ago

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 26 October 2021 11:16
Virus Outbreak Belgium
Virus Outbreak Belgium

Coronavirus indicators are shooting upward in Belgium pushing the government on Tuesday to consider re-imposing some pandemic measures that it only relaxed a few weeks ago.

Daily infections in the nation of 11 million increased 75% to reach 5,299 case on a daily basis last week. Hospitalizations have increased by 69% to reach 102 daily cases. Deaths have increased slightly, with an average of 13 a day.

To turn around this trend, the government and regional officials are set to decide later Tuesday to boost measures again, although stopping well short of a going into a lockdown. Indications are that authorities are looking at increased mandatory use of face masks and virus passports.

The urgency is such that the meeting has already been brought forward three days.

Requirements for the use of masks and some other measures were only relaxed early this month, and the easing could be partly turned back. Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, however, said that drastic restrictions were still out of the question.

“Bars and restaurants will remain open. Kids must go to school — it’s important. But maybe we will be going back to more face masks,” he told VRT network late Monday.

Even though over 85% of Belgian adults are vaccinated, a complicating factor has emerged in the high transmission rate in primary schools.

The government research institute Sciensano found that more that one in four pupils there have antibodies to the virus. Although children generally do not get so ill that they have to be hospitalized, they can easily transmit the disease to others.

Similar discussions about possibly increasing anti-virus measures are being held in the neighboring Netherlands where the government is seeking advice from experts on whether it needs to reintroduce pandemic restrictions amid sharply rising infection rates. The Netherlands has one of the fastest rising infection rates in Europe

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