Will measures be extended? Federal coronavirus update expected on Friday

Summary

As the current situation offers some hope that measures taken are working to restrict the spread of Covid-19, experts expect an extension

‘Effective strategy’

Residents of Belgium will find out late on Friday if the measures currently in place to control the spread of the coronavirus will be extended beyond 5 April. The National Security Council is meeting this week to discuss the confinement period.

Scientific advisors on the Covid-19 council say an extension – possibly to six weeks in total – is “essential” to slow down the spread of the virus. A decision could also be taken on Friday to further restrict movements outdoors. 

“Containment is currently the only truly effective strategy,” the advisors said in a note on Tuesday. “Containment must be strictly implemented and have broad public support, as appears to be the case.”

As of yesterday morning, Belgium had 4,269 confirmed cases of coronavirus. There have been 122 deaths – an increase of 34 on the day before.

The measures will only work if they are respected in their entirety. More than ever, we are counting on you

There are nearly 1,860 people currently in hospital, of whom 381 are in intensive care. Since the outbreak began, 410 people have left hospital and made a full recovery.

The number of new hospitalisations declined yesterday for the second day running. ”For the first time, the situation is going in the right direction,” said KU Leuven immunology professor Emmanuel André (pictured above), a member of the advisory council. “But we have not had enough time to know whether it will continue.”

The figures, he says, are based on tests carried out on the most vulnerable members of the population and hospital staff, and they “underestimate the current situation in the country”.

The federal health ministry said in a Tweet on Monday: “This second week will be crucial in our fight against coronavirus. The measures will only work if they are respected in their entirety. More than ever, we are counting on you.” 

Photo: Thierry Roge/BELGA