Coronavirus: Belgium likely to return to full lockdown if surge is not reversed

An area is cordoned off to keep social distance during the reopening of stores as Belgium began easing lockdown restrictions following the first wave in May. (File photo: Reuters)

Belgium could be returning to full lockdown if there is no reversal of the surge in COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions, a senior Belgian virologist said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday.

“We would then have to consider even more restrictive measures, which could resemble a lockdown like the one imposed in March and April,” Yves Van Laethem told La Derniere Heure.

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Van Laethem, who addresses national news conferences on the COVID-19 situation, said only an eventual vaccine or effective treatment would overcome the pandemic.

As cases surge again in Europe, Ireland imposed some of Europe’s toughest COVID-19 constraints on Monday, while Wales is set to begin a two-week “fire-break” lockdown on Friday.

Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Sunday that the Belgian capital Brussels and the southern region of Wallonia were “close to a tsunami”, with a health situation worse than anywhere else in Europe.

He said a tsunami would mean authorities had lost control of the situation, meaning all non-COVID healthcare procedures would need to be postponed.

The country of 11 million people reported on Monday a daily average of 7,876 new infections in the week to Oct. 15, with an average 252 hospital admissions and 30 deaths.

At the peak of the spring coronavirus wave at the end of March, more than 600 were admitted to hospital in one day in Belgium.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 20 October 2020 KSA 11:10 - GMT 08:10
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