Covid-19 in Belgium: lowest number of deaths since October last year
The average number of Covid-19 deaths in Belguim is at its lowest point since the start of October 2021, while the number of new cases and hospitalisations as a result of the virus are continuing to decline.
Between 7 and 13 May, an average of 8.9 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 42 percent from the previous week, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Tuesday morning. During the same week, an average of 3,701 new daily Covid-19 infections were identified, a 16 percent drop from the previous seven days, and the lowest since mid-October last year.
Between 10 and 16 May, an average of 101.9 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — down 19% from the previous seven days. This number reflects how many people are hospitalised directly because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then test positive for Covid-19.
On Monday, a total of 1,513 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, some 300 fewer than the same day last week, and the lowest since the end of October. Meanwhile, the number of people being treated in intensive care sits at 106. The number of patients in intensive care has remained below 200 since 9 March. This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.
The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,656. This figure includes people who died of another cause of death, but who happened to be infected, meaning there may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths caused by the virus.
The favourable figures come a few days before the scheduled consultation committee on Friday 20 May. Last Sunday, minister of Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) already told VTM Nieuws that the mouth mask obligation in public transport might be abolished.
"The coronavirus is circulating much less at the moment. Moreover, we are heading towards a better season for us and a worse season for the virus," Vandenbroucke said. " A compulsory mouth mask in public transport seems unnecessary to me now. I don't think there will be much discussion about that either."
Furthermore, the minister recommends the continued use of the mouth mask in hospitals, doctors' surgeries and pharmacies, and in places where older and more vulnerable people gather. Vandenbroucke also recommends people who live with someone who has tested positive to also wear a mouth mask. Those who are sick themselves can still get tested or do a self-test.
Minister Vandenbroucke does not exclude a new outbreak in the autumn. "Yes, I fear that there will be a new upsurge then. Actually, it would be stranger if there were no new wave. But we will be well prepared, we know that by now", he concluded.
© BELGA PHOTO Laurie Dieffembacq