Belgium, Czech to ease measures, but Berlin plans to extend restrictions

Madrid Desk, Nov 16 (efe-epa).- Authorities in Belgium and the Czech Republic, two of the European Union’s worst affected countries by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, are preparing to ease some of their restrictions after infection rates over recent weeks have started to fall.

In Germany, however, officials are planning to toughen measures as the partial lockdown in force since November 2 has not been as effective as originally hoped in reducing daily contagion rates.

British prime minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, said he was self-isolating after having been in direct contact with a confirmed positive case.


The rates of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations in Belgium continued falling on Monday, as Belgian primary and secondary school students returned to class after the traditional week-long half term school holidays were extended by a week to help contain the second wave of coronavirus in the country.

With a cumulative incidence of 892 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, primary school pupils will continue to attend classes five days a week, while secondary school pupils, from the age of 14, will have alternating attendance and online remote learning systems at least until 18 December, when the Christmas holidays begin.

Belgium is currently showing an average weekly decline in infections of 47 percent and hospitalizations are also down – by 22 percent – although intensive care admissions (1 percent increase) and coronavirus deaths (up by 7 percent) are both still increasing, albeit at a much slower rate than a month ago, when Belgium was the worst affected country in the EU.

The number of ICU patients in Belgium is 1,439, well below the threshold of 2,000 admissions considered to be a breaking point for the health system.

“The progress is overall favorable,” the French-speaking spokesman for the coronavirus task force, Yves van Laethem, said at a press conference.

“We have reached a plateau in some ways because we have been between 1,400 and 1,600 patients for a few days”.

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