Corona in Belgium | Virus proliferates, hospital admissions peak


The latest figures on infections, hospital admissions and deaths underline why a tightening of the corona measures was urgently needed. There are 2,255 people with Covid-19 in Belgian hospitals, 381 of which are in intensive care.

The authorities in Belgium announced drastic new measures on Friday evening to contain the spread of the corona virus. The daily Covid-19 statistics show why the measures are needed.

Between 7 and 14 October, according to Sciensano’s figures, an average of 7,400 people a day in Belgium were infected with the corona virus. That is almost twice as many as in the previous seven-day period. On Tuesday October 13, Sciensano counted 11,737 infections, a record.

Over the past 14 days, our country had a cumulative 691 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. With the exception of the Czech Republic (770), the virus is not proliferating so fiercely anywhere in Europe, data from the European center for disease control learn. By comparison: the Netherlands, where Prime Minister Rutte already announced drastic measures on Tuesday evening, is at 485. France, where a curfew has been introduced in Paris and in eight major cities, is at 366.

The fact that significantly more infections are detected is not due to a correspondingly increased number of tests. The number of samples has increased significantly in recent days, to over 51,000 a day. Of all tests, 14.2 percent – one in seven – turns out to be positive. That figure is on the rise and indicates a stronger circulation of the virus.

The Sciensano knowledge center follows the evolution of new infections on the basis of the seven-day average instead of daily values. For example, the weekend effect is smoothed out and the data can be supplemented with test results that the labs only supply after a few days.

The trouble spots

Sciensano uses a flashing light system, whereby the light switches to orange if more than 20 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been reported in a municipality in the past seven days. If the number of new infections then increases for seven consecutive days, the light turns red. This is now the case almost everywhere, especially in Brussels and Wallonia:

Last summer, viruses arose in Antwerp and Brussels. They are still visible on the map. Especially the situation in the Brussels Region – where the cafes have been locked for a month – remains serious. But clusters are also forming again in the south of the country. The virus is on the rise, especially in the provinces of Liège and Hainaut.

The new infections mainly affect people under the age of 50, which is very similar to the start of the epidemic in March.

Trace test

It is important to know who gets infected and where because the virus is found worldwide to spread through small explosions that can set everything on fire again without extinguishing. That is why it is crucial that the government continues to focus on the test-trace insulation strategy. It must first be possible to test for potential contamination on a large scale.

Because testing is carried out on a large scale – 51,000 people per day in recent days – the positivity ratio offers us a good compass. Sciensano calculates this ratio by comparing the number of positive tests against the number of tests performed. This ratio is now 14.2 percent in Belgium, with large regional differences.

The detection rate of positive cases shows that the virus is indeed on the rise, but there is not immediately cause for panic. The figures are mainly used to follow the evolution of the pandemic because it is difficult to compare with March. The positivity ratio was at its peak at 30 percent at the end of March, but then, due to scarcity, only people with clear disease symptoms were tested. Testing is now much broader.

Sciensano has recently also announced the number of tests per province and the Brussels Region. Antwerp tests the most, but expressed per inhabitant no more than the Brussels Region. Brussels, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Namur and Liège stand out with a 16 to 19 percent positivity ratio, while Limburg and West and East Flanders remain around 6 percent. Antwerp is at 8 percent.

The situation in hospitals

The strong increase in infections for weeks is now clearly visible the hospital statistics: an average of 233 patients are admitted per day. Saturday, October 17 351 corona patients included.

2,255 people are in Belgian hospitals with Covid-19. That is the highest level since April, albeit still significantly less from nearly 7,000 at the height of the epidemic.


Not only the direct but also the indirect impact of the virus – people postpone vital treatments – plays a role. It is certain that more people have died than average in recent months. This excess mortality peaked in our country during the week of March 30. Then there were 2,087 more deaths than normal, or an excess mortality rate of 105 percent. After that, the figures dropped back to their normal level and there was even a slight under-mortality.

The graphs accompanying this article are updated every weekday around 8:30 am.

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