Brussels, Oct 30 (efe-epa).- Belgian authorities are poised to tighten restrictions even further after a curfew and mass closure of the hospitality industry has so far failed to sufficiently slow mounting infections, which threaten to overwhelm the country’s health system in a matter of days.
The country currently lays the unenviable claim to the highest contagion rate per capita in Europe with a cumulative incidence rate of 1.609 Covid cases per 100,000 people and an average of over 15,000 new infections a day.
“The indicators have not changed. They are still all in red,” Yves van Laethem, spokesman for the specialist coronavirus committee said ahead of a high-level meeting to hammer out new restrictions in the country.
“In one week we surpassed 100,000 infections,” he added. “And the mortality rate is doubling every six days. We don’t have much positive news to offer.”
Belgians are already subject to a nightly curfew and the country’s hospitality, leisure and culture sectors have been closed down.
The infection rate continues to grow by 38 percent each week, which is down from before the restrictions were put in place, when it was doubling every seven days.
Belgian prime minister Alexander de Croo is to meet with regional leaders Friday afternoon. The details of the new restrictions are expected to be given soon after and come just two weeks after a raft of measure, including the curfew, were imposed in the country of 11.5 million.
Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said it was inevitable that they would be tightened.
“There are two debates: toughen the measures and make sure they are applied and think about what we are going to do in the long-term,” he said. Earlier this week he advised that restrictions would need to be in place for at least eight weeks to slow the upward curve of infections.
One of the foremost points of concern for the government is the swelling number of Covid-19 patients needing hospital treatment.