Virologists fear second wave as coronavirus infection rate increases

Summary

The relaxing of coronavirus measures has seen the rate of infections shoot up over the last week

‘Mini-wave’

With 199 new cases in 24 hours, Belgium has seen a 32% rise in coronavirus infections over the past week compared to the week before. Daily deaths, hospital admissions and intensive care occupancy, however, remain in decline.

Public health institute Sciensano has confirmed that the coronavirus infection rate in Belgium has risen above one for the first time since 4 April. KU Leuven virologist Marc Van Ranst says it is the beginning of a second wave and that the National Security Council will not announce any further easing of the coronavirus restrictions when it meets next week.

Meanwhile interfederal spokesperson Yves Van Laethem describes what is happening as a “mini-wave”. The highest number of infections in Belgium this week were in Antwerp province, followed by West Flanders and Limburg.

The group of experts in charge of Belgium’s coronavirus exit strategy have drawn up their initial plans for a possible second wave. Prime minister Sophie Wilmès has asked Sciensano to start providing daily figures again. “We have to be much more vigilant,” she said. “We must do everything we can to avoid a second wave.”

Photo ©Kurt Desplenter/BELGA