Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Belgium registers record high of coronavirus deaths

Number of hospitalized patients continues to drop despite grimmest results since outbreak

Agnes Szucs   | 09.04.2020
Belgium registers record high of coronavirus deaths

BRUSSELS

Over the past 24 hours, 283 people lost their lives due to coronavirus in Belgium, the highest daily figure since the outbreak, the Federal Public Service of Health announced on Thursday.

The death toll has risen to 2,523, while 1,580 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, bringing the sum of infections to 24,983.

But with the current trend, the number of hospitalized patients continues to fall. While 459 new patients were hospitalized on Wednesday, 483 people could leave healthcare facilities after recovery.

In total, 5,590 patients are under treatment in hospitals, with 1,285 of them in intensive care.

Some funeral companies in the eastern town of Liege are struggling to store the coffins in morgues until the ceremonies, local media reported. As an interim solution, a refrigerator truck was also converted into a makeshift morgue.

Nathalie Muylle -- the minister of employment, economy and consumer affairs -- announced on Wednesday to suspend the degressive principle of unemployment benefits for the upcoming three months.

Considering that work opportunities have significantly dropped because of the pandemic, the new measure aims at not punishing the job-seekers for economic reasons beyond their control.

Earlier, the government also announced to add €150 billion ($163 billion) to the unemployment benefit of people who lost their jobs due to the outbreak.

A €60-billion ($65-billion) economic fallout is expected this year due to the strict limitations on public life imposed three weeks ago to prevent the spread of the virus.

The measures allow people to leave their homes only for buying food and medicine, visiting a doctor, helping someone in need or going to work -- unless home office is an option for them.

Only supermarkets and pharmacies can stay open, while snack bars and restaurants are just allowed to offer food for take-away.

Since appearing in China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Nearly 1.5 million cases have been reported worldwide, with nearly 89,000 deaths, and almost 333,000 recoveries.


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