Steven Van Gucht warns about the coming heat wave: “Use …

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Steven Van Gucht
Photo: BELGA

The number of new infections with the coronavirus continues to rise sharply, although this increase appears to be leveling off somewhat, especially in Antwerp. Virologist Steven Van Gucht asked the population at the press conference of the crisis center to be careful with the use of fans and air conditioners during the coming heat wave.


There were an average of 534 daily last week new infections with the coronavirus. Last week there were an average of 338 a day, so this is an increase of 58 percent. That was said during the press conference of the crisis center. In total, 70,648 Belgians have already been infected with the virus.

There were also an average of 2.4 in the past week deadly victims per day, 13 percent more than 2.1 last week. The death toll in Belgium is now at 9,852. The increase in residential care centers is particularly strong: from an average of 0.1 per day last week to 0.7 this week, an increase of 400 percent. In hospitals, the number of deaths decreased by 14 percent, from an average of 2 per day to 1.7 per day.

The number of hospital admissions after all, it fell by 4 percent: from an average of 23 per day last week to an average of 22.1 per day this week. The number of hospital beds taken has increased: there were still 265 people in Belgian hospitals with Covid-19 on Tuesday, 14 percent more than last week. The number of patients on intensive care has also risen: last week there were 49, now there are 63. An increase of 29 percent, so.

“Increase in Antwerp seems to be decreasing somewhat”

“The number of infections has therefore increased further,” said Professor Steven Van Gucht. “The increase seems to be decreasing somewhat in Antwerp: the number of infections continues to rise, but less rapidly. This may be due to the stricter measures. In other Belgian lanes, the increase continues rapidly, the virus has since spread to the entire Belgian territory. We hope that the same leveling off as in Antwerp will show itself there next week. ”

Are we already in the second wave? “That is actually a vague concept, so it is difficult to say. We have seen a clear and sustained increase in the number of new infections since the end of June. We do not know whether this is a small wave or whether it will be a large wave with a clear impact on hospitals and death toll. That is difficult to predict. That is why we should not wait, and take the measures now to prevent it from becoming a big wave. ”

Pay attention with fans and air conditioning

Given the approaching heat wave, Van Gucht emphasized once again how we can safely deal with fans and air conditioners. “Normally, the virus spreads through large drops that come out of the mouth, or through hands, after which we rub our eyes. But we cannot rule out the possibility that the virus can also be transmitted via aerosol: small droplets that remain in the air for a long time and can bridge a great distance. This can be a problem in poorly ventilated rooms with many people, especially where loud speech or singing is involved. That is why it is important to ventilate a lot. Natural ventilation works best. It will be warm days, so everyone will want to cool down. Fans spread the large drops further than one meter due to their strong air flow. That is why you should only use it in-house. An air conditioner is not a source of virus infection, provided that the system is set to blow in fresh air. If the same air is always recycled, there is no dilution effect. The air conditioner must also be well maintained, and the filters must be replaced regularly. ”

Color codes

“In recent days, there has been much debate in the media about the color codes for travel destinations. The European Union decided on 15 June to re-open its internal borders. Safe traffic, however, requires that the virus infection between those countries is similar, that the same measures apply, and that a system of international contact tracing is active. Those conditions are not always met. That is why the Security Council has decided to introduce those color codes, with the associated security measures. Green represents less than 20 new cases per thousand inhabitants in the past two weeks. Orange means 20 to 100 new infections, red more than 100. These color codes also take into account rising or falling trends. Green means that you can travel freely, orange is not recommended, red is prohibited. Celeval evaluates those color codes twice a week. The travel advice is published on the Foreign Affairs website and is updated daily at 4 pm. ”

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