Belgium sees ‘worrying’ rise in virus cases

BELGIUM (AFP) – Belgium is seeing a “worrying” rapid rise in coronavirus cases, health authorities warned yesterday, with almost half of the new infections recorded around the port city of Antwerp.

There have been 1,952 new cases around Belgium over the past week, up more than 70 per cent on the previous week, officials announced, as the country’s national security committee met to consider tougher measures to slow the spread of the virus.

“The rapid growth in the number of cases is worrying,” Professor of Infectious Diseases and a spokeswoman for Belgium’s federal COVID-19 taskforce Frederique Jacobs told reporters. She said the situation was particularly serious in the province of Antwerp, in northern Belgium, which recorded 47 per cent of new infections in the last week.

Special local measures have been taken to try to contain the spike.

But Jacobs warned that “the number of infections is also rising considerably in the rest of the country”.

An average of 279 people a day contracted COVID-19 in the last week, compared to 163 a day the week before.

“Most infections are still coming among the active population, that is to say people aged between 20 and 59,” Jacobs said.