Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Belgium’s coronavirus cases surpass 20,000

Government plans to extend lockdown measures until May 3

Agnes Szucs   | 06.04.2020
Belgium’s coronavirus cases surpass 20,000


BRUSSELS

At least 1,123 new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Belgium, while 185 infected people lost their lives over the past 24 hours, health authorities announced on Monday.

The latest data by the Federal Public Service of Health shows that the total number of coronavirus infections in the country rose to 20,814, with an estimated 1,632 deaths.

As many as 6,840 patients are being treated in hospital, while 3,986 people have recovered from the virus since mid-March.

The figure shows six out of 10 coronavirus patients are from the northern region of Flanders.

“Last week’s figure shows a stabilization, a plateau phase”, virologist Steven Van Gucht said at a daily news conference.

But it is still early to say if it is a turning point in the pandemic, Gucht said, adding this week’s date is crucial to determine the trend.

Lockdown measures might be extended till May 3, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said in a video message on Sunday evening.

The federal government imposed strict limitations on public life three weeks ago.

The measures only allow people to leave their homes only for buying food and medicine, visiting a doctor, helping someone in need or going to work if home office is not an option for them.

Only supermarkets and pharmacies can stay open, snack bars and restaurants can only offer food for take-away.

The government is planning on easing the measures gradually, by opening public schools first.

According to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center, more than 1.28 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with over 69,700 deaths and more than 265,400 recovered.

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