Belgian Foreign Minister in intensive care with Covid-19

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, who was caretaker prime minister during the first wave of the coronavirus, has been admitted to intensive care, officials said yesterday.

The 45-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 last week and had been self-isolating, but her condition worsened and on Wednesday night she was admitted to a Brussels hospital.

“She is conscious and she can communicate,” her spokeswoman said, confirming that Wilmes was receiving intensive care. A source in her office said her condition was “stable”.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, who succeeded Wilmes on October 1, wished her a “speedy recovery” on his Twitter account. Several senior European politicians have fallen ill with the coronavirus, and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg tested positive on the same day as Wilmes.

Belgium is experiencing one of the worst second waves of the epidemic in the world, and with 10,539 deaths in a country of 11.5 million people, one of the deadliest outbreaks per capita. The number of confirmed infections has doubled in a month to 253,386, and there are 3,274 patients currently in hospital.

File photo of Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes at a plenary session of the Belgian federal chamber at the European Parliament in Brussels. PHOTO: AFP